Russian 'Jurassic park' under development

Mar 30, 2006

Thirty Canadian bison are being donated to Russia for Pleistocene Park, an ice age reserve under development that will feature the area's extinct species.

The herd from Alberta's Elk Island National park will be flown next month from western Canada to Yakutia, a far-eastern Russia republic, some 5,000 years after bison became extinct in that region, The Times of London reported Thursday.

The bison will be released into the 194,000-acre Lenskiye Stolby Nature Park, becoming the latest additions to the project. So far, several hundred wild horses have been introduced into the park, along with musk oxen.

But the star attraction may be the woolly mammoth -- a genus of elephant that became extinct on Earth about 13,000 years ago.

Japanese scientists hope to clone one of the extinct animals by harvesting DNA from the frozen legs or sperm of a mammoth found by a hunter in Yakutia in 1994. If they are successful they will impregnate an Indian elephant and then repeat the process with the next two generations, The Times reported.

The goal is to produce an 88 percent pure woolly mammoth within 50 years.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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