The resurrection of extinct species (de-extinction) is close to becoming a reality outside the realm of Hollywood fantasy, but the question remains whether this would be an ecologically beneficial venture.
Research out of UQ’s Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions suggests that de-extinction strategies under finite conservation funding could drain resources from the conservation of existing species, ultimately leading to a net biodiversity decrease.
The potentialities and issues surrounding de-extinction are explained nicely in this video created by the YouTube channel Life Noggin.
UQ researchers have used mathematical modelling to show that animals with high value products (i.e. elephant’s tusks) are vulnerable to a negative spiral towards extinction, associated with increasing product demand due to decreasing population numbers.
This research offers further insight into the hotly contested topic of big-game animal hunting, with supporters suggesting that product profits can be redirected toward conservation efforts.