Brazil plans to save endangered animals by cloning them
Pronto! Apontar! Clonar! That’s ready, set, clone, in Portuguese. You’re going to need to know how to say it when Brazil implements its newest plan for increasing endangered animal populations.
Brazil is home to a lot of amazing animals, and it is therefore home to a lot of amazing animals that are in danger of extinction. Among those at risk: the jaguar, maned wolf, black lion, bush dog, coati, collared anteater, gray brocket deer, and bison. Brasilia Zoological Garden and the Brazilian government’s agricultural research agency, EMBRAPA, have gotten together and decided to clone these and other animals. The goal is not to bring the population up to peak levels, as this would be rather extreme, but rather to repopulate zoos and other places where these animals are in captivity. That said, officials are not ruling out the eventual possibility of returning cloned animals to the wild.
Eight animals have been selected for cloning: They are all on the Red List of Threatened Species. Scientists have spent the past two years collecting genetic material, most of it from dead animals, to clone these animals. The first animal to be cloned will probably be a maned wolf, which looks like this:
Of course, before that happens, there is a lot of cloning prep work. Cloning isn’t easy, like conceiving and carrying and giving birth to a kid and then screwing it up for 18 years, all the while praying it gets into Haverford. You have to get trained. And once they figure how how they hell they’re going to clone all these guys, they also have to deal with the cloning laws. This is not the first time animals have been cloned in Brazil, but it’s certainly the biggest, most comprehensive cloning initiative, and, cloning being a sensitive moral, ethical, and environmental issue, you don’t just run around cloning stuff willy-nilly. (You never hear, for example, the words “cloning party.”) Finally, they have to have birth announcements printed up for that maned wolf, and the agencies are all fighting over whose name is going to go first. That part’s not true.
At any rate. Brazil. Cloning. It’s happening. I wonder if Gymboree makes a onesie for a maned wolf?
Brazil To Clone Wild Animals In Danger Of Extinction, io9.