Recently Extinct Horse Breed Could Be Reintroduced

With the death of a horse named Nunki in July of 2015 came the extinction of the Abaco Island Horse, a breed of wild horses who once lived in the Bahamian forest. Using cutting-edge technology, Milanne Rehor hopes to reverse this breed’s extinction.

Rehor received approval from the Bahamian government to clone Nunki and utilize selective breeding to bring new life to the rare breed.

The Abaco Island Horse has a storied and troubled past. While it is a mystery how the horses originally came to inhabit the island, but some say the herd’s foundation goes back to the Spanish explorers who came to the Americas more than 500 years ago.

It was in the 1960s when a child died while trying to ride one of the horses that the herd was decimated, with all but three of the estimated 200 killed by locals in response to the incident. While the population of horses rebounded to about 30 in the 1990s, Hurricane Floyd drove the horses out of their native habitat in the pine forest and onto a citrus farm, where the pesticides used to treat the fruit adversely affected their health. The last Abaco Island Horse was born before 2000 and with Nunki’s death, the breed was seemingly gone.

Thanks to cloning, however, the breed’s extinction may not be permanent.

With the advent of cloning and high profile precedents, such as the cloning of Hall of Fame showjumping champion Gem Twist, Rehor thought to have a veterinarian collect tissue and DNA samples from Ninki upon his death. They are currently cryogenically stored at ViaGen, a cloning laboratory in Texas.

While cloning alone will not save the Abaco Island Horse (as in order for the breed to grow, the clone must reproduce), it does offer hope for the breed. While a pure-bred Abaco Island Horse will never again roam the Bahamian forest, Rehor says the cloned horse offers an opportunity to enhance the gene pool of other genetically limited endangered equine breeds.

Read more at Hakai Magazine.

The post Recently Extinct Horse Breed Could Be Reintroduced appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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