Friday, October 8, 2010

Good news for ferret lovers

There's not always a lot of good news in this class so I'm happy to report that when I checked up on the latest status of the black-footed ferret it's been another great year for them with 310 kits born in captivity as of August 2nd and the population in the wild looking like it's doing well. I mean if we can't save a species this photogenic then that would not bode well.

Although most ferret births are a product of natural ferret love the Smithsonian's National Zoo had some success in 2007 and 2008 with artificial insemination using sperm frozen from males who died died in 1999 and 2000.

For more than 10 years, the semen was stored in the Zoo's Black-Footed Ferret Genome Resource Bank, a repository of frozen semen from the most valuable males. In species that have short life spans like the black-footed ferret, the use of cryopreserved, or frozen, sperm extends an individual's reproductive life. The bank's contents help maintain and even enhance genetic diversity by infusing new genes into the population. A genetically healthy and diverse population has a greater chance of survival in the wild. The bank also serves as insurance against catastrophes in the wild populations, such as a disease outbreak.

Okay, one more ferret picture. Here's the happy mother (left) and two month old offspring (right) in 2008. No picture of the sperm vial.

1 comment:

Lauren Argue said...

Yay! Maybe we can actually own ferrets legally soon...?

-Lauren Argue