What animal has gone extinct twice?

Answered by Randy McIntyre

The animal that has gone extinct twice is the Pyrenean ibex. This fascinating creature holds the unique distinction of being the first animal to be resurrected from extinction, only to go extinct once again. As an expert, I find this topic truly captivating, and I’m excited to delve into the details.

The Pyrenean ibex, also known as the bucardo or Spanish ibex, was a species of wild goat native to the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain. It was well-adapted to its mountainous habitat, with long, curved horns and a sturdy body built for climbing and navigating steep terrain.

Sadly, the Pyrenean ibex faced a rapid decline in population during the 19th and 20th centuries due to various factors, including hunting, habitat loss, and competition with domestic livestock. By the early 2000s, only a single individual named Celia remained, making her the last living member of her species.

In a remarkable effort to prevent the complete extinction of the Pyrenean ibex, scientists embarked on a groundbreaking project called “de-extinction.” They collected genetic material from Celia and used it to create a clone using a domestic goat as a surrogate mother. This scientific breakthrough marked the first successful resurrection of an extinct species.

However, the joy of this achievement was short-lived. The cloned Pyrenean ibex, named “Isla,” was born on July 30, 2003, but sadly, she died just minutes after birth due to a lung defect. This event marked the second extinction of the Pyrenean ibex, making it the first animal in history to go extinct twice.

The project’s failure to establish a viable population of Pyrenean ibex highlights the challenges and complexities involved in de-extinction efforts. While the cloning technique used showed promise, it was not enough to ensure the long-term survival of the species.

The story of the Pyrenean ibex serves as a reminder of the fragility of biodiversity and the devastating consequences of human activities on the natural world. It also underscores the ethical and practical considerations involved in attempting to bring extinct species back to life.

As an expert, I find this topic particularly thought-provoking. It raises questions about the limits of our power to reverse the damage we have done, and the responsibility we have to protect and preserve the species that still exist today. It also highlights the need for comprehensive conservation efforts and sustainable practices to prevent future extinctions.

The Pyrenean ibex holds the unfortunate distinction of being the first animal to be resurrected from extinction, only to face a second extinction. This captivating story serves as a reminder of the delicate balance of nature and the challenges we face in our efforts to protect and restore endangered species. It is a call to action for us to prioritize conservation and sustainable practices to prevent further extinctions and preserve the incredible diversity of life on our planet.