Frozen Sperm Saves Ferrets

Two black-footed ferret kits have been born at the Smithsonian National Zoo after their mothers were artificially inseminated by decade-old frozen sperm. The kits' fathers, deceased now for seven and eight years respectively, had provided sperm in 1997 and 1998 as a part of the Smithsonian's initiative to rescue the black-footed ferret from the doorstep of extinction.

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Because prairie dog populations (black-footed ferrets' primary source of food) have been depleted by over 98% in the wild, so have the ferrets. In the 1990's they were presumed extinct until a population of 18 was discovered and removed by the Smithsonian. Now there are over 700 known ferrets, many of which have been returned to the wild. The sperm was extracted and kept at the Black-Footed Ferret Genome Resource Bank at the Smithsonian.

The kits were born in mid-June and according to all reports they are healthy little bundles of fuzz and teeth.

This bodes well for Andrew and me, who in 1994 invested a small fortune in frozen ferret sperm that we bought from a guy we know. It is fantastic to see that it is finally being used to help the black-footed ferret populations, as the Bacardi Raspberry Citrus Ferret Sperm Mojito I have on the bar's drink menu hasn't been selling very well.

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Too bad they didn't have any old, old, old ferret sperm stored away at Patuxent from the original captive population (which died out in 1979 without successfully reproducing). What a boost to the old genome that would have been!

I will not imagine how ferret sperm is obtained for posterity...I will not imagine how ferret sperm is obtained for posterity...

I drank some ferret sperm one time, I enjoyed every little swimmer that drizzled down my throat

By david ranney (not verified) on 24 Oct 2008 #permalink

i live in san diego ca. I have wild ferrets in my neighborhood and wondered about how they came to be. they are juvinile black feet ferrets. did someone let them go they live in ground burrows. thank you

I'm the one who extracted the sperm from the black headed ferret it was really slippery. :)

I tried getting sperm from my freinds pet ferret a couple of days ago after reading this. He bit me so hard!!! I put it in his freezer in an ice cube tray. The next day my freinds girlfreind put it in her drink thinking it was ice cubes and we never told her about it, we have an inside joke about it now where we say, " hey Sarah would you like some ice with that!" It's so funny! :)

Hey Jim! Tell matt were through. Ok ;)

And by the way F@#& YOU GUYS!!!

i have a ferret his name is oliver he standard sabl.

By katie urbauer (not verified) on 28 Sep 2010 #permalink