How far should we go to bring back lost species?

It seems like something straight from a sci-fi movie; bringing back the dead?

In a way, this ‘bringing back the “dead” ’, or more “the extinct” is possible, but don’t worry, you won’t wake up to find dinosaurs in your neighborhood.

One question the Omega Tree website’s survey was, “How far should we go to bring back lost species? Should we try as far as we can, or should extinct species stay extinct?” The responses were rather interesting.

Roshini, class 12, said“If there is a way to help bring them back or to revive, we must do everything in our power to do so because, in some way, the reason they might have gone extinct could be because of us. If we have the power to do something, to give the animals a chance at life - we must do so.”

Of course, with a discovery that could give animals another life, it mustn’t go to waste. But we shouldn’t revive animals just to put them in cages in a way to attract visitors for money, we should revive them to benefit the environment.

Other than doing this improves our development in the science world, it also improves the richness in biodiversity. Lesser the biodiversity in an environment, the more likely species after species will go extinct, causing an imbalance in our ecosystem. The effects of this will hit us hard, as animals like pollinators drive the growth of plant population, and as the growth of plants goes down so do crops, leading to a chance of global famine.

Passenger pigeons, one of the animals in line for resurrection, significantly shaped many of North America’s forests. When they were gone, the forests lost their main driver of their regulation cycle and have never been the same. Animals like these can even have the potential to slow down climate change.

In contrast, Durga, class 10, said, “I feel that we should not try to bring back extinct species back to life as I feel we are going against the law of nature trying to bring back species from the extinct. Instead, I feel that we should focus more on stopping species from the extinct which is something that we can control.”

This is very valid. In fact, every time a species leaves mother earth, its habitat changes in an irreversible way. It's evident how the wooly mammoth’ extinction shifted the world from its Ice Age era, and forests have been more vulnerable to fires ever since the extinction of passenger pigeons. Bringing these animals back will only hurt them.

Re-introducing species may even cause an imbalance to the ecosystem. An example is the reintroduction of the gray wolf to Yellowstone. Ever since, it’s prey, elk and deer’s population diminished while aspens lived. It's hard to know how exactly reviving a species can hurt or help its ecosystem. Discussing its future evolution after bringing it back is also hard to predict.

However the miracles of genetics may lead us, we should all mostly focus on the present, as Kavitha Ma’am rightly put, “Let’s rather apply our concerted efforts to save and conserve all that we are bestowed with at present.”

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