Monday, 19 November 2012

Fine. Go Extinct. We'll Make More.

Worried about animals going extinct? Afraid for the polar bear whose home is melting or the panda that simply refuses to fuck the other pandas? In all seriousness, these are important issues. Forget for a minute that more than 99% of all the species that have ever existed on the planet are already extinct, and remember that there are a few things that we more highly developed beings can do something to make things easier for our lesser evolved companions. All over the world, people are doing all sorts of things to help animals – they are prohibiting hunting and helping to preserve wild habitats and creating artificial habitats that are considerably safer and all sorts of other lovely helpful things.

But now Embrapa, the agricultural research agency of Brazil, has decided that, if those things do not work, then it is alright.

Because they are just going to make more. 

They have decided on a number of animals that are classed as “near threatened” on the IUCN list of endangered species to try to clone successfully, and hopefully push them into a safer zone. These include jaguars, the black lion tamarind, the bush dog, the coati, the collared anteater, the grey brocket deer and the bison. They set to begin work cloning the maned wolf very soon.

The maned wolf; cloning attempts will
begin within a month.
They acknowledge that cloning should be a last resort, but that does not mean that the potential of this plan is pretty damn cool.

What they need to be able to clone these animals is some living cells from each of them. Embrapa already have 420 wild tissue samples that they intend to use to create these clones.

Dolly the sheep, now stuffed.
I agree. It's sort of creepy. I love it.
This is not the first time that the cloning of endangered animals has been attempted. In 2009, an extinct species of mountain goat called the Pyrenean ibex was cloned, but it died at birth. Other animals that have famously been cloned include Dolly the sheep, as well as rarer ones including the ox-like gaur and the mouflon … whatever they are.

Since then, however, innovations in cloning have been much more advanced and, as a skill, cloning has vastly improved. The scientists working on this project have high hopes for it and are hopeful that it will serve as a bloody good back-up for when conservation just is not enough, and we will never have to say a permanent goodbye to these beautiful beasts.

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