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Published on Aug 1, 2011
The mission of the Frozen Ark Project is to collect, preserve and store tissue, gametes, viable cells and DNA from endangered animals.
The project focuses on the thousands of animals that are threatened with extinction.
Animal species are dying out at an unprecedented rate. The current round of extinctions is largely created by mankind, because of the increase in human populations and its effect on the planet's ecosystems.
Global warming is a major contributor to this destruction. Despite the best efforts of conservationists, thousands of extinctions are happening. This pattern is common across all animal groups, both vertebrate and invertebrate, and emphasises the importance of collecting the genetic materials and cells of endangered animals before they disappear.
The loss of a species destroys the results of millions of years of evolution. If cells are preserved, invaluable information about the species is saved.
The Frozen Ark Project is not a substitute for conservation, but a practical and timely backup of genetic material for the good of, future generations.
Samples are taken from captive breeding programmes, zoos and wild populations. The Project is providing uniquely important scientific knowledge and a precious source of genetic material for conservation and research. We believe that no more animals should be allowed to approach extinction without such material being conserved.
The Frozen Ark has developed into an international consortium of museums, zoos, aquaria and research laboratories, all committed to the long-term preservation of this material.