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MEXICO CITY - A Mexican cattle rancher aims to clone a fighting bull so brave its life was spared in the world's biggest bull ring.

Texan livestock cloning company ViaGen has taken samples from the ears and feet of 17-year-old Zalamero to reproduce its genetics in Canadian laboratories, owner Jose Manuel Fernandez said on Friday.

Zalamero, or Fawner, has fathered around 100 offspring.

"We believe this animal deserves to keep reproducing himself," Fernandez said. "We are going to do four copies because two cattle ranchers have asked me for them and I am going to keep two," he told Reuters.

Zalamero fought in the world's biggest bull ring in Mexico City in 1994 and became an "indultado," one of the few bulls allowed to live because of its bravery.

ViaGen's Mexican director, Jose Cordoba, collected the gene samples from Zalamero at a ranch near the city of Puebla and said he hoped to deliver the clones in about a year and half.

- REUTERS