Conservationists say there are now only three other known members of the species left (AFP Photo/STR)More

Shanghai (AFP) – The world’s rarest turtle has moved a step closer to extinction after a female specimen died in a Chinese zoo, leaving behind just three known members of the species.

The Yangtze giant softshell turtle, believed to be above 90 years of age, died in Suzhou Zoo on Saturday, according to the Suzhou Daily.

The female’s death came a day after zoo officials made a last-ditch effort at artificial insemination using semen from the Suzhou Zoo male, an animal estimated to be more than 100 years old, the newspaper said.

The zoo had tried unsuccessfully for several years to get the pair to mate and reproduce naturally. It will now

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