BEIJING – China has sent the DNA of critically endangered tiger to space to conserve its genes and prevent it from disappearing definitively, state-owned China Daily newspaper reported on Monday.
The genetic material, put into orbit at 1,000 kilometers (around 621.4 miles) above the ground during the weekend, came from a male South China tiger named Kang Kang, brought up in captivity in a zoo in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province.
Scientists are expecting the low temperatures and vacuum in space will “provide the last defense of original gene data of species on earth, protecting it from human influence,” according to China Daily.
Moreover, the DNA container, jointly developed by a tech firm in Shenzhen and the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, has been designed to withstand space radiation and sudden high temperatures.
The South China tiger disappeared from the forests of the southern part of the country in 1994. Several organizations have been trying to prepare for releasing the animal back into the wild.