Rewilding with Extinct Species

wooly mammoth public domain

Will the wooly mammoth remain extinct? public domain

Science will soon be able to recreate extinct species , at least where viable DNA can be recovered from museum specimens. The Spanish bucardo, a wild sheep, has already been cloned. Scientists are also at work to reconstruct passenger pigeons and Tasmanian tigers, but the holy grail will be to bring back the wooly mammoth.

Not everyone thinks we should bring back extinct species. We can’t even protect the endangered species on Earth today, so diverting resources may be foolish. In most cases, ecosystems have changed so it is not clear the animals could ever be turned loose into the wild. But the public excitement these species could generate might slop over to help protect less charismatic creatures. I like this last argument. Perhaps the wooly mammoth could carry the banner for all endangered species. Plus, it would be really cool to see a living, breathing mammoth.


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