Yet to be con­firmed if Ñoâng Moâ tur­tle is same species

Viet Nam News - - FEATURES -

HAØ NOIÄ — A new tur­tle with an ap­pear­ance sim­i­lar to that of the tur­tle that lived in Hoanø Kiemá Lake in Haø Noiä has been found. But ac­cord­ing to an ex­pert, it is yet to be con­firmed if they are of the same species.

The Asia Tur­tle Pro­gramme (ATP) an­nounced last Thurs­day it had found a tur­tle of the same species as the Hoaøn Kieám tur­tle in a town north of Haø Noäi us­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal DNA test­ing (eDNA) tech­niques.

ATP con­sid­ered this “a ground-break­ing dis­cov­ery” since the last tur­tle that lived in Hoaøn Kieám Lake – one of the last of the Yangtze giant soft­shell tur­tles, be­long­ing to the species Rafe­tus swin­hoei – died in Jan­uary 2016.

The species now has just three liv­ing spec­i­mens, two in China and one in a lake out­side Haø Noäi.

If the tur­tle found by ATP is of the same species as the Hoaøn Kieám tur­tle, it will in­crease the num­ber of the spec­i­mens to four.

The dis­cov­ery also gives hope to Viet­namese sci­en­tists in terms of pre­serv­ing the species by breed­ing the two spec­i­mens.

ATP said the tur­tle was first spot­ted by lo­cals in Xuaân Khaùnh Lake in Sôn Taây Town in 2016.

In May 2017, ATP re­searcher Nguyeãn Vaên Troïng was able to cap­ture a good-qual­ity pho­to­graph that showed the tur­tle to be soft-shelled, but it was not enough to iden­tify its species.

ATP de­cided to col­lect wa­ter sam­ples from the lake and an­a­lysed them in a lab­o­ra­tory of the Wash­ing­ton State Univer­sity fol­low­ing eDNA test­ing – a tech­nique that fo­cuses on de­tect­ing

A tur­tle be­lieved to be of the same species as the one that lived in Hoanø Kiemá Lake in Haø Noiä was found in the Ñonà g Moâ Lake out­side the city in 2007. — Photo cour­tesy of bi­ol­o­gist Haø Ñình Ñöùc

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