Zoo Hopes to Clone Gorilla
carrie at stayfreemagazine.org
Fri Jun 29 21:21:52 EDT 2001
The Ottawa Sun
June 29, 2001 Friday, Final Edition
SECTION: News; Pg. 6
LENGTH: 192 words
ZOO HOPES TO CLONE GORILLA
Mumba's in no mood for love. And when you're talking about a
41-year-old gorilla, Viagra and sex therapy just aren't realistic.
"He's not inclined to copulate at all," says Clement Lanthier, the
Granby Zoo's director of animal health.
With all other avenues exhausted, the zoo has turned to cloning as
its last hope Mumba can one day contribute to the genetic diversity
experts say is crucial for the survival of endangered species like
the lowland gorilla.
"The technology is not available now but we want to be prepared,"
Mumba is one of about 725 lowland gorillas living in zoos around the
world. Their life expectancy is between 45 and 50 years.
When he dies, the zoo plans to collect and freeze tissue from the 190-kg beast.
While the Granby Zoo can't afford to spend the time and money on
developing a way to clone Mumba, it has confidence that somebody,
somewhere will -- someday.
And lest anyone think his troubles are physical, Mumba often sits by
himself to masturbate -- as discreetly as is possible, of course, in
a home surrounded by glass windows.
"His problem is psychological," says Lanthier.
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