This is the Yangtze giant softshell turtle, one of the most endangered species on Earth. There are two at China's Suzhou Zoo and one in the wild in Vietnam's lake Dong Mo. Conservationists really need to find a fourth to aid their efforts to rebuild the species. National Geographic spoke with Aimin Wang, director of the China division of the Wildlife Conservation Society, about the group's efforts to find another elusive Yangtze turtle:
What would it mean for the species if one were to be found?
It increases our opportunity [for successful breeding] quite a bit. The male in China is quite old, but the female is young. The turtles are bred using artificial insemination. The last four attempts with the breeding pair in China were unsuccessful. We just tried for a fifth time and got high-quality sperm. We won't know for another month if our results were successful.
Why are these turtles so important to save?
This is a flagship species, and for biodiversity, they're quite important. They serve as an important [indicator of environmental health]. If we can help them survive, that means our ecological system is quite good. If they disappear, that means our ecological system is quite bad.
OK, this bat, said to have been photographed in the Philippines, may very well be “human sized” as it’s been described, but a more specific description is likely “human child sized.” In any case, it’s pretty damn huge, with a reported wingspan of 5.58 feet. The freaky photo went viral (again) this week but Snopes […]
The Toledo Hemp Dispensary in Ohio is offering free CBD dog treats this week to help reduce animal anxiety triggered by fireworks. Every treat contains 10 milligrams of CBD. Good for the dogs and for the business, it seems. “Most people come back every year and tell their friends so they come and try it,” […]
The National Park Service reports that a 72-year-old woman repeatedly came within ten feet of a bison Yellowstone National Park to take a photo, and was gored by the animal. From a Park Service Statement: After a 72-year-old woman from California approached within 10 feet of a bison multiple times to take its photo, the […]
With all due respect to our vegetarian friends, there might be nothing more intrinsically linked to the 4th of July holiday than a big ole cookout. Sure, fireworks and celebrating the birth of a constitutional republic are great too, but showing off your cooking prowess with a brilliantly seared, mouth-watering slab of grade-A American beef […]
We’re at the midway point of 2020. So…how’s the year going for you so far? Yeah…we can guess. But while there’s a lot about 2020 we can’t directly control, maybe a little retail therapy can help make you feel better. Sure, the 39 items we gathered together can absolutely bring a smile to your face. […]
When revved-up kids used to dribble a basketball through the kitchen or practice their footwork with a soccer ball in front of the television, exasperated parents would often just send ‘em outside to play. But these days, sending kids out might not be the best course of action. Despite all the changes, many budding young […]