Letter: several reasons why de-extinction is bad

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I have read many articles recently about the cloning of extinct animal species including the Woolly Mammoth and recently the Christmas Island Rat, Thylacine (AKA Tasmanian Tiger) and Dodo.

As fascinating as these animals are to read, I am against de-extinction. For one thing, it is virtually impossible to create a purebred specimen of these species, as they would have to be cloned from surrogate parents of other species. For example, to successfully clone a mammoth, one would have to imbue an elephant with mammoth DNA, so, therefore, the possibility of breeding a purebred mammoth is impossible.

And another thing, these animals would probably still not be able to survive human-made changes to their habitats. For example, the dodo disappeared because of the rats that accompanied the sailors when they arrived on the native island of the bird, Mauritius. If the rats are still there, then it’s too late to repair the rat damage.

Another reason I’m against de-extinction is that it’s potentially detrimental to the preservation of species that are already going extinct. Animals such as the great apes, tigers and today’s rhinos and elephants are already in danger of extinction. We should focus on saving them from extinction, rather than bringing animals of the past back.

The process of de-extinction would render such conservation efforts totally useless, as one would think that they can simply clone a species, rather than trying to preserve it.

In short, focus on preserving the animals we have now and let the past be what it is: the past.

Thomas Miller Huffman

Lima

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