As the populations of more and more large animal species dwindle as the result of poaching and loss of habitat, biologists and conservationists have been forced to propose and investigate alternatives to previous methodology in hopes of preserving a wild population of iconic endangered species or at least maintaining a viable population in zoos.
Scientists of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) in Berlin announced the successful cryopreservation of endangered feline ovary cortex in the journal Veterinary Research on Feb. 27, 2013.
The researchers successfully froze and thawed oocytes in the ovary cortex of different cat species at minus 196 degrees Celsius in liquid nitrogen. Each of the feline species listed on the Red List for endangered species of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) required a slightly different set of parameters to achieve successful cryopreservation. The method is an adaptation of human medicine that extracts some of the ovary cortex and preserves that cortex while a woman undergoes radiation treatment for cancer.
The IZW owns the genome resource bank “Arche“ that contains a variety of sperm samples of various wildlife species.
The aim of the research is to have a viable source of gametes that can be used to preserve cat species worldwide in the face of inevitable extinction.
Dr. Duan Biggs of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions and the University of Queensland and colleagues proposed the legalization of rhino horn trade in a last ditch effort to prevent rhino extinction in the Feb. 28, 2013, issue of the journal Science.
Poaching of rhino to feed an unabated trade for rhino horn in China has prompted the scientists to propose the collection of rhino horn from animals that die of natural causes and the humane shaving of living rhino’s horns to meet world demand. The researchers estimate that present populations of black rhinos and white rhinos would meet world demand for rhino horn and reduce or eliminate poaching by providing a lower priced product that could be tracked by DNA fingerprinting techniques.