DALLAS & MELBOURNE, Australia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--USA breakthrough genetic engineering and de-extinction company Colossal Biosciences is lending its support to the recovery of the recently rediscovered Victorian Grassland Earless Dragon. An interim insurance and conservation breeding program is being established at Melbourne Zoo for the Victorian Grassland Earless Dragon (Tympanocryptis pinguicolla), a critically endangered reptile many considered likely extinct, and not seen since 1969 until a chance rediscovery earlier this year.
This project forms part of a partnership development between Colossal and Zoos Victoria to fight extinction for a range of species, and includes initial funding for the fit out of interim quarantine housing and care for the dragons, and in collaboration with other partners such as Museums Victoria Research Institute sequencing the genome of the “lost” dragons and mapping the genetic relatedness of individuals to inform conservation breeding.
Led by Colossal’s Chief Animal Officer, Matt James, and Zoos Victoria’s General Manager of Threatened Species, Garry Peterson, the partnership aims to support the broader recovery work by the Victorian Grassland Earless Dragon Recovery Team, comprising expertise from the Australian Government’s Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, Victorian Government’s Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action, Museums Victoria Research Institute, Wildlife Profiles Pty Ltd and Zoos Victoria. The team is working on conserving and growing the dragon’s remaining population and protecting and restoring other areas of its wild habitat ahead of future reintroductions.
Colossal CEO and co-founder Ben Lamm said saving critically endangered species is at the core of their mission.
“Our focus includes the de-extinction of select lost species, the preservation of endangered species, and the restoration of ecosystems and biodiversity,” Mr Lamm said. “We are really excited about helping to establish the means to create an insurance and conservation breeding program, for the once-feared lost earless dragon.
Zoos Victoria CEO Dr Jenny Gray said Zoos Victoria is committed to supporting this iconic species and securing its long-term future.
“Our partnership with Colossal has great potential to explore and apply more novel genetic techniques for a range of species in need. It's a great example of how different organizations can collaborate to address the urgent need for species preservation and ecosystem restoration.”
ABOUT ZOOS VICTORIA
Zoos Victoria is a zoo-based conservation organisation, dedicated to fighting wildlife extinction. Our four zoos are Healesville Sanctuary, Kyabram Fauna Park, Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Open Range Zoo. Each zoo provides a unique and immersive experience that attracts visitors from around the world. Our zoos inspire future conservationists of all ages. By strengthening the connection between people and wildlife, we hope to protect the future of animals and their homes. Our important work includes breeding and recovery programs; we've built partnerships with local communities, fellow conservationists, and like-minded organisations — close to home and in far-flung corners of the world.
Colossal was founded by emerging technology and software entrepreneur Ben Lamm and world-renowned geneticist and serial biotech entrepreneur George Church, Ph.D., and is the first to apply CRISPR technology for the purposes of species de-extinction. Colossal creates innovative technologies for species restoration, critically endangered species protection and the repopulation of critical ecosystems that support the continuation of life on Earth. Colossal is accepting humanity’s duty to restore Earth to a healthier state, while also solving for the future economies and biological necessities of the human condition through cutting-edge science and technologies. To follow along, please visit: www.colossal.com
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