With a lot of money going to save the panda, we are letting other species slip through the cracks that could have been saved if we weren’t so busy trying to save an animal that’s fluffy and cute but has lost the will to reproduce. Not to mention their ever-shrinking natural habitat and destructive diet which can cause sporadic declines in population. This and how expensive this gluttonous giant is to simply maintain has a lot of scientists saying, “let it go.” There are a number of recently extinct animals that might have been helped had our focus not been so myopic on the Panda.
Below I have gathered 10 animals that have gone extinct during the time since the 1960s when conservation efforts for pandas went into full swing.
The last Pyrenean Ibex, named Celia, was found dead on January 6, 2002, under a fallen tree. Though declared protected as late as 1973 it wasn’t until 1993 when only an estimated 10 individuals existed in the wild that a plan for their preservation was put into place while the last male Pyrenean Ibex in captivity had already died in 1991. Finally, the species was listed as critically endangered in 1996.
The Pyrenean Ibex is definitely a special case because in 1999 they captured the last living Pyrenean Ibex, Celia, and took DNA samples in order to clone her. In 2003, a cloned calf was born with Celia’s DNA, however, it died only a few minutes after birth making it the first extinct species attempted to be resurrected by cloning. Though this time it was failure, it marks an important step in the future where we will hopefully be able to resurrect some of the recently extinct animals we have lost.