Lincoln Park Zoo via EurekAlert:
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Black-footed ferrets, a critically endangered species native to North America, have renewed hope for future survival thanks to successful efforts by a coalition of conservationists, including scientists at Lincoln Park Zoo, to reproduce genetically important offspring using frozen semen from a ferret who has been dead for approximately 20 years. The sire, “Scarface,” as he is affectionately called by the team, was one of the last 18 black-footed ferrets to exist in the world in the 1980s. Eight kits, including offspring of Scarface, were born recently, significantly increasing the gene diversity of this endangered population that a dedicated team is working to recover in the wild.
Their work published Aug. 13 in the journal Animal Conservation “Recovery of Gene Diversity Using Long-Term Cryopreserved Spermatozoa and Artificial Insemination in the Endangered Black-Footed Ferret.”
Partners working to save black-footed ferrets from extinction, and recover a healthy population back to the wild include Lincoln Park Zoo, The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI), U.S.