'Bring back an extinct rhino? Where will we put it?'
It's too overcrowded, and a waste of money, to bring back a subspecies using IVF, argues Brit TV host
A world-first initiative to reproduce the functionally extinct northern white rhino in test tubes is “madness”, a leading BBC wildlife presenter has said.
Michaela Strachan, who presents Springwatch and Countryfile, argued that the planet is too overcrowded to bring animals back from extinction and that money should be spent on animals “we can save now”.
There are currently only two female northern white rhinos in the world after the last surviving male, 43-year-old Sudan, died in March in Kenya. Immediately after his death, scientists extracted and froze his sperm to use in “artificial reproductive techniques” such as IVF, and recently announced the initiative, which is estimated to cost about $9-million (R120-million), has been successful.
However, Strachan told Michael Ball on BBC Radio 2 that she disagreed with the procedure: “I think it’s crazy. I think we should definitely put our money into things that we can save and environments that we can save.
“The last male northern white rhino died recently, which I found incredibly sad because I saw him two years ago with my son who touched it through the bars.
“I read just a couple of days ago that they took some sperm from it before he died and they are now going to put it in a southern white rhino and they are hopefully going to create and clone something. Personally, I think that’s absolute madness.
“I think we should be using the huge amount of money that costs on saving what we can save now. Instead of bringing back stuff, because where are you going to put it? We are so overcrowded on this planet.”
The extinction of the northern white rhino has been attributed to the African poaching crisis of the 1970s and 80s, where the increasing demand for horn wiped out its population.
– © The Daily Telegraph