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From Noah’s Ark to Jurassic Park

August 29, 2012

First it was hailed as a “21st century Noah’s Ark” to preserve flora and fauna; now the National Center for Genetic Resources (CNRG) in Tepatitlan could be used to reintroduce extinct species in the style of “Jurassic Park.”

While recreating dinosaurs remains beyond the capabilities of Jalisco scientists, they are confident they could bring back endangered native species such as the Mexican wolf, the Mexican tarantula or the Teporingo “volcano rabbit” should they become extinct.

Founded by the federal government in March, the CNRG has so far been used only for the conservation of plant genes, but now the genetic bank will also house animal DNA in the form of sperm, eggs and embryos.

“It is possible to bring an extinct species back into existence, through conservation of germplasm,” said CNRG Director Fernando de la Torre this week.

Due to the compatibility between closely related species, he explained it would be possible to fertilize the embryo of an extinct animal in a laboratory and then implant it into a surrogate mother of a similar genetic makeup.

Mexico is the fourth most biodiverse country on earth and the CNRG is considered a strategic investment to protect its natural riches. Built at a cost of 400 million pesos, it is the only such center in Latin America and the most modern of the world’s 17 genetic banks.

Tiger to live in city zoo

After weeks of speculation and campaigning, the future of Albert the Bengal tiger has finally been resolved.

On Saturday he will be taken to his new home in the Guadalajara Zoo.

“It was a decision by the owner, who felt that the Tapatio society had shown great affection toward the animal,” Guadalajara’s interim mayor Francisco Ayon said on Tuesday.

Albert’s owner had been renting him to the Rehilete Alcalde amusement park until he was seized by local authorities in May.

Animal rights activists had campaigned for the six-month old tiger to be sent to a Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado, but the owner’s decision to donate him to the local zoo should please all interested parties.

Albert will be properly cared for in an appropriate environment, Ayon assured. The zoo already houses two males and three females of the same species and Albert will be able to join the institution’s successful tiger breeding program.

Orphaned Jaguar to enter breeding program

An orphaned jaguar once held at a Zapopan ranch has finally been relocated to a breeding program in coastal Jalisco.

Lucky, a two-year-old male believed to be from the Tomatlan jungle, was taken to a ranch in Zapopan along with his brother Selva, by farmers who had killed their mother. The two cubs were rescued by staff of the Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre (CIVS) in December 2010.

Having been cared for at the CIVS center in Zapopan’s Centinela forest, Lucky was sent on Wednesday to the Santa Cruz del Tuito jungle in the Cabo Corrientes region just south of Puerto Vallarta.

Living in a spacious refuge of 11 thousand square meters, he will soon take part in a reproductive program. The idea is for Lucky to mate with Pecas (Freckles), a female jaguar who has lived there since 2003. Their offspring could eventually be realeased into the wild.

A 2010 study revealed that there are around 100 jaguars in Jalisco, located in the coastal regions of Cabo Corrientes, Chamela-Cuixmala, Manantlan and the Cuale mountains.

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