What if we could save species from extinction by just multiplying them? Well, that is exactly what scientists are trying to do with the black-footed ferret.
This endangered species has become the very first native,endangered animal species in North America to be cloned. The amazing achievement was accomplished by a multitasking group of scientists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Revive & Restore, the for-profit company ViaGen Pets & Equine, San Diego Zoo Global, and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
They’ve artificially reproduced cells stored for about 30 years of a black-footed ferret that died in 1988 and created a whole new one almost from scratch and its name is Elizabeth Ann.
Meet Elizabeth Ann: The First Cloned Endangered Species
The species was thought to be extinct until the 1980s when a small population of the creature was found in Wyoming. Since then, there have been countless efforts to bring it back in full form into the wilderness where it belongs.
This is a milestone for genetics and marks a turning point in the long scientific efforts for cloning technologies.
All Black-footed ferrets living today are kept in captivity for their protection and they are all the descendants of less than 10 individuals.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service posted a few pictures of this fluffy ferret on their Twitter, further explaining how it was created and are they taking care of her.
Elizabeth Ann’s feet and tail are beginning to show as she is now around 3 weeks old and is developing in good health, so the scientists are really optimistic about possible cloned siblings and even potential mates are lining up in further efforts of getting the species to reproduce naturally and reintroducing it into nature in the near future.
“The birth of Elizabeth Ann could help address genetic barriers faced by many imperiled wildlife,” stated the US Fish And Wildlife Service on Twitter.
Elizabeth Ann is just a new example of what humans can do when we combine our creativity, knowledge, and technology for positive things and give us great hope of saving endangered species and returning them into their natural habitats.