Turtle species needs miracle

Conservationists and scientists from around the globe are desperate to save the Yangtze giant soft-shell turtle from extinction, a difficult prospect considering that only two such turtles are known to exist.

Fortunately, the remaining creatures are opposite sexes. Still, veterinarians have their work cut out for them to save what are believed to be the largest freshwater turtles in the world. The reptiles, ages 80 and 100, have lived alone in Chinese zoos for decades in the cities of Changsha and Suzhou.

According to The New York Times, the turtles are not alone in their fight for survival. Close to 40 percent of China’s mammal species are endangered. Experts say the country’s industrial revolution and resulting pollution, along with hunting and development, have led to lost habitat critical to many species.