Debate over the future of Wildlife

Dear Readers and Wildlife lovers,

I would like to launch a debate over the future of Wildlife, by the means of this blog, and I encourage all of you to express a personal opinion by commenting on this article! The topic is:

In the light of today’s reality, should humans use the latest advances in bio-technology and genetics to “resurrect” some extinct species?

When I say “today reality” I make reference to IPBES‘s latest 2019 report: “Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedented’ Species Extinction Rates ‘Accelerating” and when I say “using technology to resurrect extinct species”, I can recommend reading Torill Kornfeldt‘s (science journalist and author) findings on the topic, described in her “The re-Origin of Species” book, which I would encourage reading in detail.

But to summarize, IPBES’s report is of utmost concern, “from 8 million species of plant and animal species on Earth, up to 1 million are threaten with extinction within decades, at the current accelerated rate of extinction, which is tens to hundreds of times higher compared to average over the last 10 million years”!

Then, shall humans use science and technology to bail us out, and “resurrect” most important species to the environment? Using Torri’s example, mammoths were useful in maintaining the Siberian permafrost, by removing trees or snow in large areas of land when searching for food, which would be very useful today in combating global warming, and saving this way many present marine species! But scientists may never be able to re-create a 100% genetically identical mammoth, but could be within reach of creating a whole new species of elephant, resistant to cold weather, which could be relocated to Siberia, and perform the natural role that the mammoth was performing 10.000 years ago?

The re-Origin of Species

What is your view on this? Let’s kick-start the conversation!

19 thoughts on “Debate over the future of Wildlife

  1. Shared on my FB but I wasn’t able to reblog on WordPress.
    Personally, I have mixed emotions: on the one hand, I think that the evolutionary process should not be influenced by the evolution of technology solely linked to Man. We have already had the opportunity to passively participate in “cloning”, genetic manipulation in food and animals to obtain “selections” that are not justifiable on an ethical level (in my opinion).
    Now, in the last years, sensitive awareness of biodiversity has meant that some “rare species” – plant and leguminous but also of farm animals such as the Appenzellese bearded hen (https://www.prospecierara.ch/de/home)- are been taken into consideration.
    This is positive, albeit a first step.
    But I’m moving away from answering your direct question.
    A person who is sensitive to the issue, who invests time to protect nature and is therefore interested in these issues, will certainly be even more confronted with the situation of the current degradation of biodiversity. And unfortunately, we humans are the cause.
    Lastly, a couple of days ago the National Council in Bern Switzerland, gave the green light to the extermination of wolves…
    The thematic, that of the great predators, which is very close to my heart and for which I will fight back with a referendum!
    See, this is the problem: at the top of the pyramid (power is held by the powerful, politicians, cartels, multinationals, etc.) there is a single absolute concept -make mone -. This to the detriment of the Planet Earth, of the ethics and of billions of living creatures (men and animals) that are only a workforce or food.

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    • Thank you Claudine, for your feedback, and moreover for your continuous dedication and energy in protecting the wolves in Switzerland, which as top predators are key to a healthy ecosystem, especially in your beautiful country with so many mountains! Keep on fighting, the cause is just and admirable! What keeps me awake at night is the thought of waking up one day in a world of humans only, chasing the quarterly results and the GDP growth!
      To our debate, I understand you would rather focus on saving today biodiversity through responsible behavior and respect for other species and nature, rather than interfering in evolutionary process – although as we humans were the cause of many species going already extinct, you leave an open point to a potential technological “solution”…

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      • Actually WKR, I don’t think that there is any potential “technological solution”. Better said, I’m against that. As bearly wrote, we should let Gaia do what she will need to do… and if we shall go towards mass extinction, after that there will be another new start if Gaia will still “alive”.
        Our planet is a living creature, and we are a kind of her hosts.
        The man did already billions of mistakes, there is no way to repair the damage done.
        Anthropocentrism and specism….. will unfortunately prevail. As I wrote before, there are badly needed radical changes but we still are away from “the critical mass” to enable this. I guess first we shall have a sort of horrible catastrophe in which many will be washed out (remember the Noah Great Flood?) I daily experience many currents of thought trying to justify wrong and selfish behaviors. And this, really, is only the tip of the iceberg. I’m just a normal woman with a job in tight contact with many people from several social statuses. There isn’t any difference: I see people caring for my same “quest” in each social status, but the careless ones prevail.

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      • Indeed…it is very hard to be optimistic these days, looking at the IPBES’s latest report, and then seeing the business as usual attitude of everyone around, from people to governments. And it is the majority which should be most concerned already short term as most dependent on a healthy ecosystem and free services from the Planet, as the rich will always find a way to stay on top of the events and will be less impacted…and the rich will also be the ones benefiting from new advances in bio-technology, and may be heading to a separate cast in itself, they are already behind many investments in the field…If you are not rich, better work on compassion or at least don’t ignore the warnings from scientists/specialists, if you are not yet impacted in your daily urban routine and your audio/visual senses don’t detect any imminent danger, doesn’t mean at all that things won’t change one day…a question of timing remains.

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  2. Instead of using technology to resurrect what we have exterminated in the past, I think we should use less technology, stop wildlife management and let nature take its course by creating connected true wilderness areas that allow free migration.
    In the long run our efforts to “balance” predator and prey fail, mostly because they are driven by monetary motivation.
    We are in the midst of a massive extinction. It makes no sense to recreate a few species in a world that cannot sustain its current diversity.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for your feedback, Bearly! I see your approach more pragmatic, and I personally agree, that through past examples, human always seemed short sighted with their experiments on nature, and there have always been unforeseen consequences, in other unexpected areas! To your scenario, I think today wildlife national parks would help, because they are reservoirs of unspoiled nature, and species there could migrate and take over their role, in other under-populated areas, and a balance would be restored quickly, as it happened in Yellowstone when wolves were allowed in the park! But what do you do with all farmers and infrastructure in place today to serve the growing number of people? Is any such approach possible at a human population today of 7.7 bn and growing?

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      • 1) Our National Parks are islands, most of them too small to allow for an intact ecosystem. Even Yellowstone is too small to support say a healthy wolverine population, since they have such a large, specialized habitat. This island concept had been formally addressed by the Y2Y initiative that proposes connecting parks and public lands through wildlife corridors.
        2) All conservation efforts will fail until we recognize that unlimited (human & economic) growth on our planet is not feasible. I believe we are already beyond the number of a sustainable human population. 70% of North America is used for agriculture. 70% of that land is used to grow feed for cattle or raise cattle. That’s insane. Every day we loose more land to development. Wild spaces disappear.
        Everything is possible, but we need to change our attitude towards Nature and the limited resources of our Planet in a dramatic way.

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      • What about starting with the change of nutrition’s habit? Switching to a diat without meat&fish, people would not only do a good thing for their own health, you may say it is compassionate and will change the food problem for the human population. If. There is Always an “if”… many do not even think about letting the wrong alimentary bad habits! Until it will be too late.

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      • But not impossible! I did change not only my diet… but much more. Information, awareness and example can be a “good method”. Okay, I admit that following the Buddhist philosophy, everything is easier for me 🙂 have a lovely day

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      • On 1) true, national parks are a poor compromise we have with nature today…and they do provide material reward as well, otherwise even these small “islands” wont be in place today. But they are very useful for education purpose, for kids visiting, that is how they will learn to appreciate nature later, otherwise, kids growing only in urban environment, will never care about nature later, they will care about latest technological gadgets only, and so the nature will have even less fans with coming generations….On 2), education is key again, we need to spread the word and influence, at least our close friends and circle, from where the food in the plate comes from, and what the hidden cost cost is, that nature takes, and not profit driven companies and tax collecting governments…And compassion is key of everything, while technology evolves at breaking-neck speed, there is hardly any progress in developing compassion, to include not only oneself and peers, but all around us, including nature and other species!

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      • I agree completely and I am having these discussions with my friends. It seems daunting to expect that one day there could be a critical mass thinking along those lines.

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  3. Seeing as we are the sole cause of these extinctions, and not natural processes, and if we have the ability to undo and correct our mistakes, my opinion is that we should do everything we can to restore balance to this world!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you de Wets family, for your feedback! Do you see any challenges or potential unforeseen consequences from technology use, in today reality, in trying to restore a natural balance, in some parts of the world? Until recently, the fauna in Africa didn’t suffer as much as other continents, as it had time to adapt along side Sapiens in a natural predator-prey fashion, but on other continents, the other species were caught by surprise when Sapiens adventured in their territory with fire and potential to hunt with arrows and spears from safe distance…Any particular species that you are thinking of outside Africa, that might contribute through its role to the health of an ecosystem, and could be considered for genetic re-design and “restored”?

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  4. https://wilderness-society.org/wildlife-in-the-postmodern-era/

    Very interesting reading providing explanation for modern human approach and perception of coexisting with wildlife, in these conditions the future doesn’t look optimistic:

    “According to the famous theory of social construction of the reality written by sociologists Thomas Luckmann and Peter Berger, man is born into a world of artificially created institutions which are the only ones he considers to be objective and natural. Already the taxonomical categorization of plants and animals into orders and classes reflects the need for control and dominance. Man stands apart from natural processes, and the impenetrable barrier deepens between the realm of nature and culture. In this division nature is passive. It embodies irrationality, instinctiveness and therefore primitivity”

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  5. We should stop interfering and concentrate on reducing our own impact – – Physician heal thyself – Earth can do the same if we give it a chance. Populations need to reduce – we must move away from thinking that the only thing that matters is mankind – the alpha predator – and help support a better balance. And understand that Earth has its own rythm and priorities which allthough they effect us all to a greater or lesser degree, should be the ultimate primary consideration if mankind is not to become extinct. And it is beyond doubt that there will be extreme hardship on that road to extinction.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your feedback Alexandra! Do you believe in individual change, is it realistic and efficient, or rather centrally imposed guidance (tougher measures but with unrealistic chances to pass in a democracy), in order to save the current state of planet and its “other” species? As in the end, individuals all agree that today status is not sustainable, but they don’t see themselves to blame when going shopping and having dinner in restaurants, or even buying food in supermarket, or driving to workplace…Regarding technology, in the end it is moving ahead, either we like it or not, but do you see any use for it in today reality, that would benefit wildlife?

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      • Individual change by its very nature is not efficient, centrally imposed guidance by whom and is that for everyone bar those imposing it – which is what normally happens? This becomes a whole philosophical debate. I despair of where we are but for sanitys sake try and do my best as an indivual , spreading the word and trying to understand other points of view – you have to keep asking why till you get to the route of the problem..wealth / poverty / opportunity etc and then make it equal / sustainable . Its a bigger picture of have / want / have not . Technology is related to this and at least it can be used to monitor / measure our decline. Mankind is just another species fighting for survival with tools (technology).but like all tools its use is responsible / iresponsible. I have no answers – only a personal desire to live an honourable life and do no harm .

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