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Trends Ecol Evol. 2014 Mar;29(3):140-7. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2014.01.007. Epub 2014 Feb 8.

Reintroducing resurrected species: selecting DeExtinction candidates.

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Department of Zoology, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand. Electronic address:
Center for Conservation Research, Calgary Zoological Society, 1300 Zoo Road, Calgary, Alberta T2E 7V6, Canada.
Institute of Zoology, London Zoological Society, London NW1 4RY, UK.


Technological advances have raised the controversial prospect of resurrecting extinct species. Species DeExtinction should involve more than the production of biological orphans to be scrutinized in the laboratory or zoo. If DeExtinction is to realize its stated goals of deep ecological enrichment, then resurrected animals must be translocated (i.e., released within suitable habitat). Therefore, DeExtinction is a conservation translocation issue and the selection of potential DeExtinction candidates must consider the feasibility and risks associated with reintroduction. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Guidelines on Reintroductions and Other Conservation Translocations provide a framework for DeExtinction candidate selection. We translate these Guidelines into ten questions to be addressed early on in the selection process to eliminate unsuitable reintroduction candidates. We apply these questions to the thylacine, Yangtze River Dolphin, and Xerces blue butterfly.


assisted colonization; conservation introduction; ecological replacement; resurrection biology; rewilding; species restoration

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