De-extinction Company to Work on Resurrecting Tasmanian Tiger

Photo: National Film and Sound Archive of Australia [via The Guardian]

The Facts

  • On Tues., Texas-based de-extinction company Colossal Biosciences announced they will attempt to resurrect the thylacine, or the Tasmanian Tiger - Australia's only marsupial apex predator.

  • De-extinction is an initiative designed to create new versions of lost species. Since 1999, Australian scientists have hoped to bring back what was once the country's top predator. If the thylacine is resurrected the hope is that it would help restore balance to the ecosystem.

The Spin

Narrative A

Losing an apex predator as Australia did almost a century ago has far-reaching environmental repercussions, such as the spreading of disease, invasive species, and a disruption to natural biogeochemical cycles. The resurrection of the Tasmanian Tiger will re-balance the ecosystem and advance research for the conservation community. This is excellent work.

Narrative B

While, in theory, this is exciting research, there's a lack of consideration for the many technical, ethical, and ecological challenges, such as the welfare of the animals, which would be subjected to a life in captivity before an uncertain reintroduction into the wild. The money would be better spent on preventing the extinction of existing animals.

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