The Frozen Ark Project

The Frozen Ark Project.

The Frozen Ark is a charitable frozen zoo project created jointly by the Zoological Society of London, the Natural History Museum and University of Nottingham. The project aims to preserve the DNA and living cells of endangered species to retain the genetic knowledge for the future. The Frozen Ark collects and stores samples taken from animals in zoos and those threatened with extinction in the wild, with the expectation that, some day, cloning technologies will have matured sufficiently to resurrect extinct species. The Project was a finalist for the Saatchi & Saatchi Award for World Changing Ideas in 2006. Scientists believe animals may be disappearing from our planet at a very high rate. Some even refer to this plunge in biodiversity as the Earth’s “sixth mass extinction.” Over the next 30 years, perhaps a quarter of all known mammals and a tenth of all recorded bird species could die out – as result of rapid climate change and habitat loss. A multitude of less charismatic insects, worms and spiders are also said to be teetering on the edge. “Many people don’t understand the current threat to biodiversity we face today,” said the project patron Sir Crispin Tickell, of Oxford University. “Extinctions today probably equal the last five great extinctions. 10,000 animal species are currently endangered and we have an amazing uncertainty about their importance in the web of life.” When a species is snuffed out, it leaves a hole in the ecosystem and, perhaps, a dent in our conscience. But there is something else, too. The last animal of its kind to die, takes with it a tome of information. “When the last individual of a species dies, you lose all the adaptations that have accumulated over millions of years of evolution,” said Georgina Mace, of the Natural History Museum. “It would be incredibly reckless of us to allow these adaptations to be lost.” Credits: The BBC & Wikipedia.

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