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Version May 19, 2008
Efforts to Save the Species: Rafetus on the Move in China
ATCN Note: Below is a quick update from Rick Hudson of the Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) on the historic undertaking that is underway in China as government, zoo, and international experts attempt to introduce the last two captive Rafetus swinhoei together in hopes that they will reproduce and save the species from extinction.
A message from Rick Hudson, co-chair of the TSA (May 5, 2008)
History is being made today folks and TSA is leading the way. The last know female Yangtze giant soft-shell, Rafetus swinhoei, is on her way to join the last captive male in China at the Suzhou Zoo. The team left Changsha this morning about 2 AM CST, a 3 van caravan (including a PBS Nature film crew) starting the 1100 km trip. The team is led by Dr. Geradl Kuchling and includes Paul Calle, DVM (WCS), Scott Davis (TSA) and Mitch Kalmanson (Lester Kalmanson Agency) who is in chagre of insurance and transportation logistics. Vets from Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden and Ocean Park Hong Kong are also along.
On Saturday Dr. Kuchling inspected the modified breeding pond at Suzhou and recommended some last minute changes, then he returned to Changsha and performed a reproductive ultrasound exam on the female. The good news is that she has not yet ovulated and has 11 pre ovulatory follicles and good fat deposits. So we appear to be moving her at the right time.
The Female Makes it to Changsha Zoo (May 6, 2008)
Signs of Breeding Activities Reported (May 12, 2008)