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A Cost-Effective Analysis for the De-Extinction of the Woolly Mammoth

Ronald D Ferguson writes science fiction and fantasy. (sites.google.com/site/ronalddferguson.) He lives with his wife and a rescue dog near the shadow of the Alamo.

"Recent advances in technology for rescuing extinct species have significantly improved our success rate. Bringing back some of the species lost to time is not only feasible, it appeals to the curiosity of those of us fascinated by the past. Indeed, resurrecting a lost botanical species can have many extensive economic and environmental benefits.
"However, the true cost of resurrecting an animal species is not the initial expense of recovery but rather the maintenance of the species. We estimate the annual budget needed to set aside and maintain a preserve for the Tasmanian tiger to be a hundred times what we currently spend for the rescued Monk seal. The real question facing us is allocation of resources. Are we better off maintaining existing habitat to secure the remaining Macaroni penguins, or should we spend a thousand times more money to resurrect and sustain the Ivory-billed woodpecker?
"One mitigating factor for the cost is whether the resurrected species could fill any vital niche in the ecology. If a living species already fills that niche, then the resurrection serves no economic purpose.
"Bringing back one animal as a species specimen is useful for study or exhibition, but bringing back an entire species is a matter best considered in terms of economic impact. Thank you for your attention. Any questions?"
"What does it cost to resurrect a species?"
"That varies with the species and many factors. How long has it been extinct? What is the quality and completeness of its available DNA? Does the species have any close living relatives that could fill in gaps in the DNA. I could be more precise for some specific species that I've studied."
"How about the Woolly Mammoth?"
"The Woolly Mammoth is inexpensive to resurrect, but managing a sufficiently large herd of Woolly Mammoths for the species to remain viable would be very expensive."
"Extremely expensive to bring back, unreliable results at best, and in my opinion, a very foolish endeavor with no good economic impact."
"Would you consider bringing back Homo Sapiens?"
"Absolute economic disaster. They are the poster children for high maintenance."
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

Author Comments

This story was inspired by an article on the expense of resurrecting an extinct species.

- Ronald D Ferguson
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