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Cloned Endangered Ferret
News Bytes 02/24/2021 85 Comments

First, there was Dolly the sheep. A cow, cat, deer, dog, horse, mule, ox, rabbit, and rat soon followed. Now U.S. scientists have successfully cloned a ferret. The procedure marks the first time scientists have cloned a native endangered species in the United States.

Black-footed ferret recovery efforts took a bold step on December 10. That’s when a ferret named Elizabeth Ann was born. The ferret came from the frozen cells of Willa, a black-footed ferret that lived more than 30 years ago, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“Although this research is preliminary, it is the first cloning of a native endangered species in North America,” says Noreen Walsh, director of the Service’s Mountain-Prairie Region. “It provides a promising tool for continued efforts to conserve the black-footed ferret.”

The species, North America’s only native ferret, was once thought to be extinct. But it was brought back from nearly vanishing forever after a Wyoming rancher discovered a small population on his land in 1981. Wildlife experts captured the animals and began a captive breeding program to recover the species.

However, only seven of the original wild animals bred. Today, all living ferrets are closely related. That puts limitations on the species’ genetic diversity, a key part of survival. Limited genetic diversity creates challenges for hardiness in changing environments and with emerging disease threats.

Elizabeth Ann is a genetic copy of Willa, a black-footed ferret captured among the last wild individuals. Willa is not one of the seven so-called founders of the ferret line. The female ferret died in the 1980s and has no living descendants. Using her genes will introduce genetic diversity to the effort to boost the U.S. native ferret population.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department had the foresight to preserve Willa’s genes over 30 years ago. Officials sent tissue samples from Willa to the San Diego Zoo Global’s Frozen Zoo in 1988. Years later, those genes provided viable cell cultures for the project.

The cloning team includes biotech conservation group Revive & Restore, private pet cloning company ViaGen Pets and Equine, San Diego Zoo Global, and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The group is working to produce more black-footed ferret clones in the coming months as part of continuing research efforts.

(Elizabeth Ann, the first cloned black-footed ferret and first-ever cloned U.S. endangered species, at 50 days old on January 29, 2021. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via AP)

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Most recent comments

1st Comment

I read about cloning in my science. I think that as long as scientists use cloning properly and for a good reason, it is okay. It is when they want to start using it with humans that I don't like the idea. That is what I think about a lot of modern scientific things; as long as we use it properly and carefully, it is okay.
Please keep praying that my mom gets better she is having to use a walker to get around, and our passports still haven't come for our mission trip, and we should be leaving in like two to three weeks. So could y'all please pray? Thanks!

P.S. This is Caro

Aw! She's so cute! I'll be praying!

@ Everyone/Riley D.

Yeah, she is SOOOOOO cute!!!!!!!!!!!! Riley, I'll be praying.

@ Everyone/ Riley

how is that cute? Riley I will be praying.


Riley, I will pray.
Belwyn, they are talking about the ferret, not Riley's mom. ;) And I agree, she's so cute!

@ Addie

I know they are saying the ferret is cute, I just don't see it.


this is so cool and i will pray for you i know how that fealss my mom and i went to malawi africa (sorry for my spelling) an d2 weeks before we were leaving everything went rong. 7weeks befor we left my mom broke her foot in a very rare and had place to brake you need to know that when God wants us to something for him saitin will giv his all to make it so you can't so with that said you need to trust that the lord will provide it is all part of his big plan

@ Addie

BTW, Belwyn didn't say it wasn't cute I did.

5TH comment

This is so cool, God must be working through these people to help this species survive. Also that is cute, Sarah what do you mean how is it cute? Riley, I will pray. Where are you planning to go? (if that's not 'personal information' :) )

oops those comments werent

oops those comments werent there before XP

This is London

@Riley D I will pray. She is so cute!!!!!!!!!!!!


I guess it's an opinion-based thing. Big black eyes, furry little mouth, little ears.... ah! I just think she is adorable!

Awwwwww I can’t get over the

Awwwwww I can’t get over the cuteness XD

That is cool

That is cool that they were able to clone a endangered species. I've always wondered how they do it. Scientists have also being able to teleport a little rock a couple of feet away, which isn't far but it is progress. I wonder what technology will bring us in like 50 years.

15th Comment!

That ferret is sooooo cute. I agree with @Riley D, cloning pretty awesome, but it could be used in the wrong way. I think the whole thing's kinda creepy!

this is mylee

She's so cute XD ! I think that this cloning is ok bc they are useing it to save animals . Riley D I will pray for her and for your passports . May I ask where ya'll are going ? I want to visit another country so bad XD !

this is mylee

Brownies it is creepy and weird !

this is London

we changed it LOL so ppl dont get confused


That was a good idea! A lot of ppl don't see 'this is Mylee' and just say London. I'm sure I've done it before! XD

She’s sooo cute, I want one!

She’s sooo cute, I want one! It’s cool that they’re able save species and stuff, but the whole cloning thing is a little weird I definitely wouldn’t want to have a clone of me though, that would be creepy

That's interesting..........I

That's interesting..........I think it's "ok" to do with animals but no...
But that is so adorable!!!!

this is mylee

Ya @ Addie L lots of ppl were getting confused so we changed it XD !

one day it will be humans we clone

i mean its just a matter of time...
(BTW I'm kinda being sarcastic)

Riley D/Sarah F

Will be praying for you Riley. That ferret is so cute, what do you mean by it not being cute Sarah F

24 comment

The cloning seems okay, especially since the original is um, gone.
Twins: I had my suspicions about who you were, and then I scrolled farther down, and I was right!


25 comment^

27th comment

@Riley I will definitely contunue to pray for you!

I personally think people shouldn't be cloning because nobody should try to bring back animals or people. It is creepy and weird! I hope I'm not offending anyone.

@ Everyone

Does anyone tap their maple trees and collect the sap to boil down into syrup?

*Fun Fact: Did you know that it takes 40 gallons of sap to create one gallon of syrup?

@Bethy s


@ Twins

But oh! Which of you said it! :)

@Bethy s

Me (London) Lol

@ Twins (aka London)

I thought as much! :)


Thank you so much! This means a lot!
@Twins Good idea! Although it will help if you still put who is talking, although you don't have to if you don't want to.


I am gonna have to agree with Riley D. I think it is okay to help the animals (although there are probably better NATURAL ways to), but this will help people think that HUMANS have the power to "create" life. Btw, THEY WILL NEVER SUCCEED IN CREATING LIFE. Only God can.

@ Nora

I don't find rodent like animals cute.


I think it is cute as long as it does not cause any damage! ;)

@ Isabel F

Yes we tap our trees but just to drink the sap we haven't made syrup yet. We were thinking about it though.

@ Sarah F

Yeah I don't find rodents that cute but little field mice are cute ( as long as there outside! ) we see them in the summer a lot out side in our large field and of looking yard

@ Riley

Exactly! :)

@ Nora

That is what we do too!! After we run up to the pond (the pond is about half a mile from our and we have to walk through our woods on a trail up some hills) we like to rest and drink the sap. Right now, the weather's been doing good (freezing at night and warm in the day time) so we have been getting a good amount of sap. We tapped 20 trees this year, and if each tree produces 2 gallons of sap, then we will have enough to boil into one gallon of syrup. How many trees have you tapped this year? Are they small or large trees? Is it freezing at night and warm in the day time?

@ Nora

One more thing, when did you first start tapping your trees?

@ Isabel F

No we haven't taped any yet because it has not been really that high in temperature yet but really soon. We have a guy that lives down the street and he goes around and taps trees and makes syrup and then sells is so we usually start to tap when he does.
We have trails in the back of our house to! we made them with rakes actually though, I think our longest trail that we've made is a loop that goes down to a river, or a guess you would call it a larger stream, but we call it a river. but I think that trial is may be a little longer that half a mile. and then we have two more trails that are shorter. we spend a lot of time in the woods in the summer and spring, in the spring there are a kinds of little ting spring wild flowers that we find and lots of frogs in a little vernal pool that's also in the wood and lots of crayfish that are in the river, that we like to catch and draw in our nature journals, and we make little damms in the water, and water falls. last summer we made little bouts out of scrap wood in our shed and we made them go down the river. Man now I really want summer to come! lol
But we have a lot of fun back there, we have a trail cam that we put down there on our trails and we see lots of raccoons and deer and a ton of squirrels, some times coyotes and once we saw a black bear, a fisher cat and once a fox.
Last year we found big crayfish claws on a rock so it looked like a raccoon had caught one and had eaten it.

@ Isabel F

You can problem tell from context that we live in the country. lol we are home schooled are you? I think we use a thing called Ambleside for school


Our cousins use Ambleside! Is it Charlotte Mason? Because if so, we use that too! You would be the first one that I have met on here that has ever mentioned Charlotte Mason! XD

@ Nora

Lol!! We are homeschooled too! And trust me, my handwriting is not the best! I've been homeschooled my whole you. Have you?
That's a good idea, waiting for your neighbor to tap his trees first. :) usually, Daddy just randomly says we'll be tapping the trees, and we just go with him. That's cool you got a 'river'. ;) we just have a pond that just collects water. Except on the really rainy days when it is really rainy and it overflows. On the super hot days, it dries up a lot. Our pond was, we think, man made because when the water is very clear and we can see large rocks on the bottom. We have one large, main trail (with a lot of little trails going off it) that was there when Daddy first bought the land. Our trail used to be a road for people back then with horse buggies. Our trail goes all the way to our neighborhors house. Our neighbors even found a small graveyard with faded names on them. And faded years. I can't remember what the names were, but the years were sometime in the 1700s. We found old rock walls at the back of our property, and a couple rusty horse shoes.

Where do you live, if you don't mind me asking? We live in KY (Kentucky)

@ Nora

I forgot to say, we also live in the country! My old violin teacher likes to say we live in the middle of no where!

@ Isabel F

What a neat place to live, that's really interesting. I'm home schooled too, and have been my whole life. We use Sonlight.

@ Isabel

That's really cool about the graveyard! My great-grandmother likes to do genealogy stuff. She used to go on trips specifically to find graveyards where our ancestors were buried. She traced some of our ancestors all the way back to the 1700s! I have been homeschooled since 1st grade. I'm not 100% sure why my parents put me in kindergarten in the public school, but I think it was because my mom had just had one of my little brothers. We've done CC and Charlotte Mason. I like Charlotte Mason a lot because you only have 4 hours of book school in the morning, and then you can read and do handicrafts in the afternoon. We do copywork which is where you work on handwriting. I am learning some really pretty lettering! I haven't exactly mastered it though... XP We also do an online class for Lost Tools of Writing. Do any of y'all use Charlotte Mason?


@ Bethy = that's awesome!! It's always nice to know another homeschooler! :)
@ Addie = that is SSOO cool about your great grandmother! My great grandmother (on my mom's side) created a whole genealogy of our ancestors all the way to the early 1700s!!!!! Everytime we do our family reunion (twice a year), then my grandmother gets the genealogy papers out and hangs them up on the wall so everyone can see it. At each reunion, Isabel (my older sister) marks down how many people were at the reunion. It is nice being able to see all my cousins that I never see a lot a couple times a year.

I do not use the Charlotte

I do not use the Charlotte Mason. We use a lot of different curriculums, so I don't know exactly who. All I know is that I use Rod and Staff for my math. (A mennonite curriculum that I think is really hard, but then, I am VERY bad at math!!!! XD)


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