The BanGES was established in 2003 through a collaboration agreement between the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC, for its acronym in Spanish) and the Ministry of Environment, with the goal of developing research and conservation projects of critically endangered species in the Iberian Peninsula. Other BanGES activities include the preservation of some species of North African gazelles, of the giant panda, and of South American felines. Nowadays, the BanGES is integrated within the infrastructure of the MNCN as a research service dedicated to obtaining and cryopreserving animal germplasm and zoonotic tissue of endangered species, with particular attention to the Iberian lynx and the European mink; we also support conservation efforts of natural populations and of captive breeding programmes. We store biomaterial samples of over 250 specimens of Iberian lynx from natural and captive populations. Our support to research initiatives has culminated in the first successful artificial insemination of a Mohor gazelle, with techniques that make use of frozen sperm cells; another insemination project resulted in the birth of two panda bear cubs in the Madrid Zoo.
Our mission is to collect, process and store biological material of endangered species in order to preserve as much genetic diversity as possible. Our priority is the cryopreservation of germplasm (sperm cells, eggs and embryos), somatic tissue and cells, in such way that these biomaterials are viable and can be used for reproductive and genetic characterization of endangered wild species, and also through assisted reproduction methods, to promote genic fluidity among scattered populations.
We have two laboratories, one of them for the collection, evaluation and cryopreservation of sperm cells, as well as cell maturation and in-vitro fertilization of oocytes; the other, for the cultivation and cryopreservation of tissues. For the storage of the biological material, we use high performance freezers of -80ºC and a “cryobiological house”, with cold chambers and tanks with an automated liquid nitrogen supply and surveillance cameras.