Malaysia studies plan to clone endangered turtles

Malaysia is studying a plan to clone leatherback turtles, an endangered species that scientists believe once swam with dinosaurs, an official said Thursday. But some biologists say the plan is impractical and unlikely to succeed, since no reptile is ever known to have been cloned. The Fisheries Department hopes to embark on a leatherback cloning project that could cost 32 million ringgit (US$9.28 million) over five years, said its director-general, Junaidi Che Ayub. "The number of leatherbacks is decreasing every year," he told The Associated Press. "Even though some of them have returned to our shores to nest, their eggs are not fertile and do not hatch." He did not say why. "Cloning is just a proposal," he said. "We have to be creative and innovative, we have to think of many ideas."