This morning, on 'Sunday Morning Live', I caught a discussion on the development of new advances in technology that may allow us to bring back animals that have become extinct - those such as the Wooly Mammoth, the Dodo, the Chinese River Dolphin... animals that have been driven to extinction by humans. There is no doubt that humans have wreaked havoc on the world, and currently animals are going extinct faster than species can evolve to survive. We are all dominant, all powerful and no other species can win against us in the fight for survival. But does this now give us the right to play "God"? Is bringing back species an attempt to fix the problems that we have caused, or an egotistical display of what we can achieve?
I can certainly see the benefits of recovering lost species, such as allowing us to restore unbalanced ecosystems, new medical research, and most of all turn around from the unjust wipe-outs we have caused. To be able to see these long-lost creatures living and breathing would be truly magnificent.
But in reality what would bringing these animals back actually mean? It's not certain that if de-extinct animals would actually be the same as the species that once roamed earth or just new animals that look somewhat like those that used to exist. And would they actually be able to exist in the wild, or would it just be for entertainments purposes for us to gawk at in Zoos? In actual fact re-establishing animals into the wild is fraught with difficulty - these would be animals that have never learned how to be what they are supposed to be, would never have developed or evolved to survive. Not to mention the price the tusk of a woolly mammoth would fetch. If people are willing to risk their lives to kill the animals we have now, what would be the value of something that has been brought back!?
And this brings me around to my final point. We currently live in a world where we cannot maintain the species that we have - I believe our focus should be on protecting and re-establishing those on the brink... Stopping further extinction and learning from our past mistakes. How are we supposed to maintain animals we have already killed off when we can't even save the Western Black Rhino, the Japanese River Otter and the Pinta Island Tortoises (animals which became extinct in the past 3 years)? We must focus our efforts on re-establishing the species we do have left and ensuring a safe and sustainable environment before we can even consider bringing those back that are, very sadly, already gone.
Please note, this is a discussion topic and I would love to hear your opinions and debate! Feel free to comment, correct me or just tell me what you think :)
Also check out: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2013/04/125-species-revival/zimmer-text where I found a lot of my information.
Thank you for reading!