Watch: Drone captures footage of rare endangered turtle

A drone has captured extremely rare footage of one of the world’s most endangered turtles in a lake in Vietnam. Swinhoe’s softshell turtle (Rafetus swinhoei), also known as the Yangtze giant softshell turtle, can weigh up to 200 pounds. The International Union for Conservation of Nature considers them critically endangered. In fact, the IUCN had considered the turtle possibly extinct in Vietnam—before this video, only three individuals were known to exist in the world. Researchers captured the video footage while surveying Dong Mo Lake. “It certainly has the shape of a Rafetus, and I can’t explain anything else in the lake or in nature that has that particular shape,” said Lonnie McCaskill an Animal Curator at WCS’s Prospect Park Zoo, in a press release.

Read more at the Wildlife Conservation Society Newsroom.

Header Image: A Swinhoe’s softshell turtle on floating grass on Dong Mo Lake in Vietnam. Credit: Long Nguyen/Wildlife Conservation Society