KANSAS CITY, Mo. (NewsNation Now) — The Kansas City Zoo is partnering with the San Diego Zoo using ‘Jurassic Park’ style technology in hopes of saving endangered animals.
Skin cells taken from now-extinct animals like the black rhino have been preserved in liquid nitrogen.
They hope one day to have the technology to use the preserved cells to clone the animals.
Marlys Houck, the Frozen Zoo’s curator, told NewsNation affiliate WDAF in Kansas City that saving the cells could lead to a more robust animal kingdom in the future.
“The cells that we put into the bank today should be there long beyond us,” Houck said. “No one will remember who we are, but they will know that there were people who banked these cells that will be used in future generations.”
The cells are preserved in liquid nitrogen at minus 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Kirk Suedmeyer, the director of animal health and conservation research at the Kansas City Zoo considers the project a “responsibility.”
“Participation in the Frozen Zoo gives us a future hope, and what better time to have hope than during the [COVID-19] pandemic?” Suedmeyer said.
In August, the zoo in San Diego became the first in the world to successfully close a Przewalski’s horse. DNA of a male horse had been preserved for 40 years, and the zoo used another horse as a surrogate mother.
The Frozen Zoo has taken more than 600 samples from animals over the past 30 years.