Saving the DNA and the viable cells of the world's endangered animals
Expert panels are being formed for each of the major animal groups, to discover which species are most urgently in need of sampling, and how to go about it. The panel members use species lists from national authorities, specialist groups, and the IUCN. They add their own expert knowledge of the groups concerned, and additional information about such matters as susceptibility to climate change. The experts will decide priorities such as the animals in most danger of extinction and therefore in most need of sampling. We get help from other specialist groups, such as the zoos' own taxon advisory groups, and the IUCN's Species Survival Commission.
The birds and mammals are already well catered for. The first of our own groups to be set up was for endangered land molluscs, in association with experts from the Natural History Museum in London. A panel to look after marine and freshwater species of fish has been formed by the Cryobiology Group at The University of Bedfordshire. A joint effort by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the IUCN's Species Survival Commission and the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group has created an Amphibian Ark Cryobanking Advisory Committee.
To find out more about the expert panels, to contribute to them, or to found a new group please contact: Frozen.Ark@nottingham.ac.uk.