The ethics of conservation: Should we bring back extinct species?

Tasmanian TigerThe losses of animal species have spurred some conservationists to do just about anything to save endangered animals and have inspired researchers to develop technology that might bring back once-extinct species. But even if we could bring back extinct species, should we? In his new book, “The Fall of the Wild: Extinction, De-Extinction, and the Ethics of Conservation,” Arizona State University sustainability scholar Ben Minteer looks into the ethical dilemmas of the loss and recovery of animal species. “A few years ago, I began to notice that my writing about extinction and the wild was becoming preoccupied with the challenge of balancing the pragmatic need for action with a respect for more traditional preservationist values,” said Minteer, a professor with the School of Life Sciences and the Arizona Zoological Society Endowed Chair at ASU. “The science editor at Columbia University Press approached me about putting together a little book on the subject. He’d read some of my writing on de-extinction and specimen collection and thought these views could be presented to a broad audience.” Read Minteer's Q&A about this subject and his new book on ASU Now.