About 40 of these cats live in zoos worldwide, while a few wild cats live in South Africa where they are protected, but sometimes poisoned and killed by farmers.
How could you poison these little kittens, they’re so CUTE!!! Ahem. So, I have been visiting Zooborns again, it’s a serious habit.
Let’s pretend this post is about something more than just cute pictures of cats, and talk about the science that conceived them.
Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species aim to protect seriously endangered species by creating a “frozen zoo”, banking genetic material such as eggs, sperm, embryos and tissue samples. Frozen, thawed sperm and IVF technology sparked the life of these kittens, which were really conceived six years ago and frozen as embryos.
The embryos were thawed and implanted into the surrogate mother Bijou in December last year.
It must be a bizarre experience for the mother, although I’ve heard tomcats have a barbed penis so perhaps she’s lucky to have skipped the usual event.
The frozen zoo contains frozen semen from the gorilla, Sumatran tiger, jaguar, Jabiru stork, and caracal. Other cell samples cover the African and Asian elephants, Baird’s tapir, colobus monkey, roan antelope, and black bear.
“The next step for us will be to clone the black-footed cat and transfer the embryo to a domestic cat surrogate,” said Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species Senior Scientist Dr. C. Earle Pope in the media release.
Cloning endangered species, is that a good idea or not? I can’t tell.