Friday, June 5, 2015

Save the Turtles!

Hi everyone,

I came across an interesting article about scientists trying to save a species of giant turtles from becoming extinct. Link to the article:

Here’s a summary of the article:
In Shanghai’s Suzhou Zoo, Dr Kuchling and his team of scientists made an attempt save the population of Yangtze giant softshell turtles from extinction by artificially inseminating unfertilized female eggs. The population of Yangtze giant softshell turtle dwindled down over the years due to various reasons including pollution and hunting. Today, only four individual Yangtze softshell turtles remain on Earth and all previous attempts to have the males and females turtles reproduce failed. On May 6, an initial attempt to obtain semen from a male Yangtze turtle was performed. The process of extraction sperm from the male turtle involved transporting him onto a stack of tires, treating him with anesthetics, and using a electric probe to stimulate an erection. The physical appearance of the Yangtze giant softshell turtle’s penis was described to be “equipped with fleshy spikes, protuberances and lobes.” However to the group’s discontent, it was discovered that the male turtle’s penis was mutilated. Nevertheless, the sperm that was obtained from the male turtle was viable and used to inseminate the female turtle. Due to the lack of information on the turtle’s reproductive system, the group encountered the major problem of locating and transferring the semen into the correct compartment within the female turtle. The team is now forced to wait, in hope that their efforts provide viable results.

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