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59. Euphrates Softshell Turtle

Rafetus euphraticus

About

The Euphrates softshell turtle is a large species of turtle, with a total carapace length of around 67 cm.

The Euphrates softshell turtle is one of two giant softshells in the genus Rafetus, along with the Critically Endangered Yangtze giant softshell turtle. Together these two species diverged from all other living species more than 40 million years ago. This is more than 10 million years before humans last shared a common ancestor with baboons!

Sadly, this species is on the brink of extinction and urgent conservation interventions are required. It is threatened by habitat loss and degradation due to irrigation, fisheries and pollution.

The construction of dams between 1975 and 2000 on the Euphrates and Tigris basins have led to huge declines and even total loss of some populations. The species is listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List, though it is likely Critically Endangered in Iran, Syria and Turkey. It is now listed on CITES Appendix II.

  • Order: Testudines
  • Family: Trionychidae
  • Population: Unknown
  • Trend: decreasing
  • Size: 67cm (?)

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 5.70 (?)
ED Score: 36.278 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct

Distribution

This species is found in Iran, Iraq, Syrian Arab Republic and Turkey.

Habitat and Ecology

This species is semi-aquatic and clutches of up to 30 eggs are laid on sand beaches.

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