Today’s Solutions: September 30, 2022

In an amazing feat for conservation efforts, researchers have successfully cloned a highly endangered ferret species using the cells of an animal that died more than three decades ago.

Meet Elizabeth Ann, the black-footed ferret clone that marks the first time any native endangered species has been cloned in the United States. While the baby ferret (also known as a kit) was brought into the world by a domestic surrogate ferret mom, its genes are the exact copy of a wild ferret named Willa, who died in 1998.

Elizabeth Ann’s cloning represents a milestone for the conservation of black-footed ferrets. Their population reached near extinction a few decades ago after ranchers had wiped out prairie dog colonies (the main prey of the black-footed ferret) because they made the land less suitable for cattle.

Conservationists then gathered the remaining population for a captive-breeding program that has released thousands of ferrets at dozens of sites in North America since the 1990s. But because those black-footed ferrets are closely related to one another they are extremely vulnerable to being wiped out by a parasite or disease.

Willa wasn’t closely related to the bred ferrets. When she died, her cells were sent to a “frozen zoo” run by San Diego Zoo Global that has collected samples from more than 1,100 endangered species and subspecies worldwide. The researchers hope that by introducing Elizabeth Ann and other future Willa clones into the wild, they will be able to diversify their genes in the wild and help their species survive.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Parking reform: a win for housing and climate in California

Assembly Bill 2097, signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday, eliminates parking mandates for residential and commercial developments located within half ...

Read More

5 simple ways you can do less laundry

Apart from being an extremely mundane task, doing your laundry is also rather far from being an eco-friendly chore. It involves an energy-intensive process ...

Read More

Years later, many refugees are feeling at home in Germany

When Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed a great influx of refugees in 2015 rather than denying them at the border, she received overwhelming criticism ...

Read More

Psilocybin therapy can positively change our thinking patterns

Mushrooms are "magic" in more ways than one. They improve long term brain health, they can break down plastic waste, and they afford incredible ...

Read More