“humans, as stewards of Earth, must protect species at risk of extinction.” — WaPo

The Washington Post reported, Aug. 8,

How a newborn rhino could help to save his subspecies cousins from extinction

Of particular interest to readers of this site:

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s 99th baby southern white rhinoceros was born recently, but the arrival of “Edward” sparked much more widespread interest than the previous 98 births of his subspecies. That’s because Edward’s conception occurred not through natural mating but via artificial insemination.

The Post further reports, the baby rhino is the first white rhino born via artificial reproduction in the US and most notably, “His birth holds out hope for saving the functionally extinct northern white rhino.”

The Metro in the UK first reported on the ongoing research in June 2018,

Should humanity resurrect dinosaurs and bring the Neanderthals back to life? Meet the scientists working to revive extinct species

Back-breeding, where you find current species with similar genetics and selectively breed the characteristics back in, is already happening… However, this takes a long time and, even then, the creature would only be a replica of the original.

Then there’s cloning. Historically, clones often haven’t survived very long. However, success rates are improving since the days of Dolly the Sheep…

And this:

San Diego Zoo has already displayed cloned animals, including a banteng, a type of wild cattle. The Pyrenean Ibex was the first mammal to be brought back from extinction.

Ethical questions come into play.  Continuing:

Should humanity resurrect dinosaurs and bring the Neanderthals back to life? Meet the scientists working to revive extinct species

Professor Douglas McCauley, an ecologist at University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB)…

You just can’t take a part and put it into a brand new system and expect it to work without considering how its ecological context has changed.

‘If we lose sight of the true gravity of extinction and overzealously embrace de-extinction as a mitigation tool, it would be really easy to manufacture forests, savannas, and oceans full of franken-species and eco-zombies,’ he adds.

“The northern white rhino is a subspecies, not a full species”

The International Rhino Foundation is optimistic.

The Southern white rhino, the other subspecies, is actually a great conservation success story, being brought back from fewer than 200 animals to more than 20,000 today through proactive measures implemented by committed governments and conservationists in southern Africa.

While the loss of Sudan is incredibly tragic, we have not lost the white rhino. The northern white rhino is a subspecies, not a full species – and it actually has been functionally extinct for at least a decade.

Donate at Rhinos.org

Eric

Author Eric

FSU grad, US Navy Veteran. Houston, Texas

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