There's fresh hope for the most endangered species of turtle in the world after a female was discovered in Vietnam.
The find means there is at least one male and one female giant Swinhoe's softshell turtle - otherwise known as the Hoan Kiem turtle or Yangtze giant softshell turtle.
The female was found in Dong Mo Lake, in Hanoi's Son Tay district, in October and was captured for genetic testing.
The results confirmed it was the extremely rare species and it is now hoped she can be bred with the only known male, which is at Suzhou zoo in China.
Scientists hope the species - which has been driven to the brink of extinction by hunting for its eggs and meat - can now be saved.
They also believe there is at least one more of the creatures in Dong Mo Lake and another in Xuan Khanh Lake.
Timothy McCormack, programme director of the Asian Turtle Program (ATP) and Indo-Myanmar Conservation (IMC), said: "I was extremely happy to hear that an individual turtle was successfully trapped and captured in October.
"This success is important in providing additional data on the Hoan Kiem turtle in Dong Mo lake. The next step will be to trap and capture individual turtles in Xuan Khanh lake.
"To me this is even more important and meaningful because we currently do not know the sex of this turtle.
"Depending on the sex of the individual turtle in Xuan Khanh, we will have the best choice to carry out conservation breeding in Vietnam and bring the species out of the brink of extinction. It will be a miracle and I hope it comes true."
Hoang Bich Thuy, national director of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Vietnam, said: "In a year full of upheaval and sad news about epidemics around the world, discovering this individual brings hope - hope that the Hoan Kiem turtle will have another chance to survive.
"Over-hunting and habitat destruction caused the destruction of the Hoan Kiem turtle.
"In Vietnam, under the direction of the government, we are determined to work together and act to give this soft shell turtle a chance to increase populations."
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