Researchers from the University of Queensland (UQ) have maintained that while the idea of resurrecting extinct animals might seem exhilarating, the conservation efforts to make this work will come at a terrible cost. They noted that bringing back extinct species from the dead would only hurt conservation initiatives and not help it. They added that it is better to focus attention on conserving threatened and endangered species rather than wasting resources on bringing back long-forgotten, ancient species to life again.
A new study was titled "Spending limited resources on de-extinction could lead to net biodiversity loss" and published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution. The researcher calculate that the cost of resurrecting five species gone extinct in New South Wales could be used to conserve 42 living species eight times over in the same region. The authors of the study focused on de-extinction and conservation costs for species in New South Wales, Australia and New Zealand, Phys.org reports.
The effort will be a biodiversity loss rather than a gain
A scientist with UQ, Professor Hugh Possingham said the initiative to de-extinct extinct species will stretch the budgets for conserving species beyond limits. He said conservation groups and organizations are already straining themselves under tight budgets, adding to this the task of bringing back ancient animals will only endanger the status of presently living species. He added that it is better to focus on helping living animals rather than waste scarce conservation resources on extinct species.
The technology for bringing back extinct species is still decades away
According to study lead Dr. Joseph Bennett of Carleton University in Canada, the genetic engineering technology for resurrecting extinct species is still decades away. And where the technology is even ready and viable, scientists will be tasked with the burden of determining which species to bring back to life and in which habitat. Bennett emphasized that national governments or private sponsors will also be at loggerheads in terms of funding the project, Science Mag noted.
In summing up his position, Bennett said it is best to use existing resources to conserve threatened and endangered species rather than de-extinct species. He added that it will be "ethically messy, ecologically awkward, and now also really expensive" to carry out this de-extinction initiative. Then he noted that he'd have nothing to do with any de-extinction projects where it will threaten or harm extant or living species.