This has its disquieting aspects, but it still sounds like a neat idea:
It was last seen on British shores 200 years ago — but the great auk could soon return.
An international team of scientists has met to discuss reintroducing the flightless marine birds onto the Farne islands off the north-east coast of England.
Of course, they’re extinct, so this will take some serious DNA work. Fortunately, there is auk material to work with:
There are a number of Great Auk museum specimens to work with — 71 skins, 24 skeletons, 75 eggs, and even some preserved internal organs and ancient fossil remains.
And there’s some enthusiasm for the project:
Matt Ridley, a science writer who chaired a recent meeting where the plans were discussed, told the Telegraph: “Effectively the great auk is the only European breading bird to go extinct in the last 500 years.
“It’s one of the very few flightless birds of the northern hemisphere and it obviously played a very important part in the ecosystem of the North Atlantic. It would be rather wonderful to feel that we could bring it back.”
Just … be careful.