However, in 1994, “conservationists found a few specimens in a food market in China.” Not extinct.
This is the easiest way of doing research I have yet heard of. No need to pole up mosquito-thronged rivers in stifling heat, stretch heavy nets across waterways, interview suspicious local residents with aid of unreliable translators. Just go shopping. In a food market! Snack your way to conservation.
ZooAtlanta started trying to breed them and at last report had generated 5 additional Arakan forest turtles. (They mate just once a year, and the eggs take 100 days to hatch. Do not rush the Arakan forest turtle.)
Since the turtles were not actually living and breeding in the food market, dissatisfied conservationists went looking for the turtles' actual stomping grounds, and in 2009 researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) finally found wild turtles. In an elephant sanctuary, excellent evidence for the often-asserted notion that when you set aside land for something big and charismatic, you simultaneously protect smaller dowdier species, including ones you don't even know about.
Though this sanctuary contains elephants, apparently nobody goes there, because it also contains “thick stands of impenetrable bamboo forests”. Probably hot and full of bugs, too.
It sounds a little like the area where Sharon Gursky-Doyen sought the pygmy tarsier (Tarsius pumilus). This species hadn't been seen in 70 years when one turned up in a rat trap in Sulawesi. To find more of these mouse-sized primates, Gursky-Doyen set up 276 nets on Mount Rorekatimbo, at above 6,000 feet. Her team caught, radio-collared, and released 3 tarsiers (so one tarsier per 92 nets deployed). But Rorekatimbo's steep slopes are so dangerous that Gursky-Doyen “actually broke my fibula walking around there.”
I admire tough, resolute field workers like these deeply, and so I hope to tell them when I run into them at the food market.