A European ferret who participated in an experimental cloning program to try to save endangered black-footed ferrets has found a new home at Lawrence’s Prairie Park Nature Center, according to the city.
“Ogallala was one of the ferrets acting as a surrogate in efforts to clone black-footed ferrets from cryogenically frozen cells,” according to a Friday post by the Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department.
“The experiment’s goal was to introduce much-needed genetic diversity into the endangered black-footed ferret population. While Ogallala did carry two clones to term, they did not survive; however, the overall program was successful with the birth of Elizabeth Ann on Dec. 10, 2020, from another surrogate mother.”
Ogallala will join the center’s two other European ferrets, Noodle and Nugget, according to the city. The center is also home to Pancake, a black-footed ferret who retired from a program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Black-Footed Ferret Conservation Center in Colorado, according to the city.
There are estimated to be fewer than 700 black-footed ferrets in existence, making them one of the most endangered animals in North America, according to LPRD. Staff members hope Ogallala will help raise awareness of endangered species and pique interest in efforts to support wildlife.
Prairie Park Nature Center can be reached at 785-832-7980 for more information. Visit the center just off 27th Street and Haskell Avenue. Its hours are posted on its website at this link.