What We Need
Saving the DNA and the viable cells of the world's endangered animals
We need data and samples too!
We ask those around the world with stored collections of DNA, tissue, somatic or stem cells from endangered animals to send us details of their collections for inclusion in the Frozen Ark database. Those who send in such details will be given access to the Frozen Ark database. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need any more information.
Most importantly, we need financial support. Please help us if you can. Click the 'Please Donate' button above for further information. Donors from the United States can gain the same tax benefits donating to the Frozen Ark as they can to US charities.
Do you hold any suitably preserved material?
We ask those around the world with collections of DNA, cell or tissue samples from endangered animals to send details for inclusion in the Frozen Ark database.
Collecting samples for the Frozen Ark
Expeditions, individuals, or organisations wishing to collect tissue and DNA samples for the Frozen Ark should contact Frozen.Ark@nottingham.ac.uk in the first instance for advice about recommended methods of collecting and transporting samples. Summaries of recommended protocols are available by clicking HERE. Arrangements can be made to borrow equipment from the Natural History Museum in London and from other museums.
In zoos and aquaria, samples can be taken from animals when they are undergoing routine veterinary treatment and from animals that have very recently died. These samples could include male and female gametes, surplus animals such as tadpoles, tissues, feathers, hairs, body fluids, buccal smears, umbilical cord and placental tissue.
We are very keen that the collection of samples becomes a recognised 'ex situ activity' for the world's zoos and aquaria, and becomes included as one of the conservation activities of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. We believe this would also be a major force for the successful distribution and use of gametes for conservation breeding programmes.
If you want to collaborate with us in any other way, please email Frozen.Ark@nottingham.ac.uk
The latest list of threatened species from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature shows the urgent need for sampling.
According to the IUCN there are about 40 species extinct in the wild but held in zoos. Some of them have been re-introduced to parts of their former ranges but their futures are insecure, and taking samples from them has a high priority.
If you have preserved tissue or DNA of an endangered species, or if you have access to these species, please contact the Frozen Ark at Frozen.Ark@nottingham.ac.uk.
We are in the process of getting the collection of samples for the FA as a recognised 'ex situ activity' of the world's zoos and aquaria to be included as one of their 'integrated conservation activities' first laid out in WAZA's 2005 Conservation Strategy document. We believe this association will become a major force in the successful collection, distribution and use of genetic material for zoo and aquaria conservation breeding programmes.
Collection of Samples from Zoos and Aquaria
In zoos and aquaria, samples are being taken post mortem and from living animals when they are undergoing veterinary treatment from various sources - male and female gametes, tested, ovaries, embryos, surplus animals (e.g. tadpoles) tissues, feathers, hairs, body fluids, buccal smears, umbilical cord and placental tissue.
The future of the Frozen Ark
The projects work becomes even more urgent as predictions of loss of species accelerate. To do this we need to collect and store samples from at least 10,000 species by 2015. To achieve this we need to expand the rate of sample collection. We believe to do this we need a fourth group to join our cause, the conservation community to collect samples for the FA from the animals in your care. This collaboration could be modelled in a similar way to that being developed with zoos and aquaria. There is not substitute for conserving single species and no substitute for conserving ecosystems or enters of biodiversity and hot spots. However, the history of animal conservation has shown us that in spite of these things happening successfully around the world, species have continued to go extinct. Some habitats like the coral reefs. The icecaps and probably the majority of the rain forests cannot be conserved. What do we do about this? We believe we have to have the Frozen Ark.
In the words of Edward O Wilson 'We should preserve every scrap of biodiversity as priceless while we learn to use it and come to understand what it means to humanity'