A scientific breakthrough is giving a boost to the nation’s endangered black-footed ferret population.
Scientists have cloned the endangered species but the wild part is that they did it from one that died 30 years ago.
Elizabeth Ann is a black-footed ferret and was born in December 2020 in a Colorado lab. Scientists said it’s the first time a U.S. endangered species has ever been cloned.
Scientists are calling this a game-changing breakthrough, as the black-footed ferret population was believed to be extinct until a small population was discovered in Wyoming in 1981.
Elizabeth Ann’s genes are a replica of a ferret named Willa, who died in 1988. Willa’s remains were frozen, making cloning possible.
In 2013, The Fish and Wildlife Service partnered with species recovery partners and scientists at Revive & Restore, ViaGen Pets & Equine, San Diego Zoo Global, and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
With the birth of Elizabeth Ann, researchers hope for her to breed and to release her offspring into the wild. They say this move will introduce genetic diversity into the ferret population.