The goal, they stress, should not be to resurrect species simply so that a single flashy individual can be put on show in a zoo.
Instead, de-extinction should be viewed in the same way as existing re-introduction programmes: the aim would be to generate a genetically-diverse, viable population, living in a robust habitat.
A 2013 TEDx conference on de-extinction stimulated people’s imagination and much debate. Until that point, research had primarily tried to figure out whether it could be done.
“But we (the IUCN) asked under what conditions should it be done and what would it mean for conservation?” says Moehrenschlager.
“We’ve got a window of opportunity now to get people thinking about the complexities of what would be involved,” says Seddon.