Endangered species have had scientists and environmentalists scared for not only years but decades. Weather it’s tigers, sea turtles, rhinos, or the many more species that are in danger of going extinct in the coming years or decades. It has been a problem that scientists and environmentalists have been warning us about and trying to change. With that comes an amazing place that has helped with research and solutions to these problems: The San Diego Frozen Zoo. Scientists collect tissues from animals of all life, not just those that are endangered, and grow cells in labs and preserve them in -321 degrees (Dance, 2019).
It all started in 1975 when a doctor by the name of Kurt Benirschke who was fascinated in fertility and chromosomes. His idea on how to save endangered species through science was huge thanks to this somewhat new technology created to freeze cells and thaw them which was done for the first time in 1949 (Dance, 2019). It was truly an incredible advance, however before the frozen zoo this technology was used primarily for human medical research instead of animals. That’s where Dr. Kurt Benirschke came in to create a place for medical research in saving endangered species (Dance, 2019).
The way this works is to take a species cells and to freeze them, as mentioned in -321 degrees. Then they can thaw the cells and grow them into more cells, and they can freeze the new cells as well. This allows scientists to research all the different endangered species left in the world without using up, or running out of resources when it comes to their dna (Ryder, 2012). This gives them the opportunity to do more research with modern technology to help save animals who are endangered. Whenever an endangered animal dies they send researchers out to retrieve an egg or some sperm of the animal and race back to the lab to freeze and preserve it for research in the future (Watson, 2015). According to “The Frozen Zoo” by Oliver Ryder, “The Frozen Zoo at the San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research now encompasses gametes, embryos and cell cultures from over 9,000 animals, comprising more than 1,000 species.” That’s incredible to think that over 9,000 animals have contributed into helping save over 1,000 species. That tells you how successful this process has become at the frozen zoo.
Though there’s been amazing research at the San Diego Frozen Zoo, and research done to help save endangered species, there are still some sceptics and concerns over if it’s worth spending all of the resources such as time, space, and money for helping many endangered species that are really low in number and that don’t have a realistic chance of survival (Watson, 2015). This has forced researchers and scientists to make difficult decisions on which animals to focus on and which ones to put aside for later if there is a later (Watson, 2015). They have to choose the animals they want to spend their time on because of the chances of them surviving are greater.
So in summary, the San Diego Frozen Zoo is a great place for scientists do to research on endangered species and never run out of resources to help them accomplish their goal. Though there is scepticism as to this being the best use of this technology seeming how many of these animals end up dying anyways, they have still made it possible to help and save these animals who are going extinct.
Our editors will help you fix any mistakes and get an A+!Get started
Please check your inbox