Researchers urge caution over bringing back extinct species

News of researchers' efforts to bring back the long-extinct wooly mammoth has caught the public's attention, and while the prospect is interesting, many are against it. That project in particular has its own controversies, such as whether it is ethical to bring back a creature that will have no social group of its own, but the entire de-extinction project as a whole is also not without its potential issues.

A new study recently published in Nature highlights some of those issues, urging scientists and organizations to consider the estimated costs of bringing back extinct creatures. One big issue is that the cost of conservation efforts to preserve a resurrected extinct species would likely outweigh the costs of preserving greater numbers of already existing species.

Conservation efforts could then be harmed, not helped, by bringing back these long-lost creatures, which themselves may have trouble fitting back into their former ecosystems. The focus here isn't on the ethics of bringing back such species, but rather the feasibility and potential risks of doing so from a conservation standpoint.

Ultimately, limited conservation budgets being used to preserve an extinct species could put existing species at risk of themselves becoming extinct, putting the entire thing at odds with notions of conservation. The researchers urge conservationists and scientists to focus on the species that already exist rather than risk pushing them into endangerment and/or extinction.

SOURCE: Nature