Imagine taking a hike through the wilderness and catching a glimpse of a horse with zebra stripes, a deer with 12-foot antlers or a three-foot tall penguin. At one point, all three of these animals occupied corners of the world, but have since gone extinct. The threat of an entire species being wiped out is a thought that can give everybody from pet lovers to existential philosophers something to think about.
In an attempt to prevent further animal extinction in Australia, where 22 native mammal species have expired in the past 200 years, some biologists are considering domesticating wild species to preserve their survival, Time.com reports.
Mike Archer, a professor at the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of New South Wales is urging the Australian government to legalize the ownership of more native pets.
"No animal that has ever entered [humans’] inner circle has become extinct," he told the news source. He added, "When you value something and have an emotional connection with it…it simply doesn’t disappear."
In February, Australia’s environment minister Peter Garrett announced that the Christmas Island pipistrelle bat, an inch-long flying mammal, was about to go extinct; the last reported sighting of the species occurred in August.