Shropshire leads the way in the fight against animal extinction

You could be forgiven for thinking that is is a page from the script of Jurassic Park.

Tullis Matson cryopreserving a sample for storage
Tullis Matson cryopreserving a sample for storage

But the work at a Shropshire based laboratory could ensure the survival of endangered wildlife species threatened with extinction.

Nature's SAFE has been created at a Equine breeding centre near Whitchurch.

The charity's founder and chairman, Tullis Mason, is using skills developed for and used at his Stallion AI services, to help in worldwide conservation.

A few years ago the idea came to him that if he could freeze sperm, eggs and DNA of horses, why could it not be done to help threatened wildlife species.

"I looked at whether anything was being done anywhere else and was told that what we could do, which is preserve cells for regeneration, was the missing link."

Specialised cryopreservation techniques are used to store live skin cells, that would otherwise be lost, from threatened species."

He set up the charitable foundation, Nature's Safe, and formed links with Chester Zoo and The Rhino Fertility Project at the Oxford University. The work is also supported by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) Biobank.

The work can be seen at natures-safe.com.

"It is such a privilege to be working with such respected organisations on something so important.

"More than one million of the world’s species are threatened with extinction, largely as a result of the actions of humanity.”

Mr Matson said that while Rhinos were the species that headed up the fight to save wildlife there were so many others.

"We are appealing to people to come on board with our work, whether businesses or organisation that may want to sponsor or support us, or individuals. We are a charity and we need a lot of help."

"There are some techniques that we can't do now, but by preserving the cells there will come a time when those techniques will be possible."

Mr Matson said there were critics who said such work was messing with nature.

"I would say that we as humans have messed with nature enough, now it the time to step in and help nature."

"This is the animal version of the millenium seedbank which is helping to save plants and trees for the future. This is a bank that will be able to help those species threatened with extinction."

He said he had been lucky enough to go out to Africa to see conservation work in action.

"I am passionate about science and technology and the trip, seeing how it can be put into action to save species, was very uplifting.

"We no longer have the luxury of time - it will soon be too late to change direction. Nature’s SAFE provides a path to a more hopeful future for us all by saving animals from extinction and halting biodiversity loss."

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