TechRussian billionaire's audacious plan. Resurrecting woolly mammoths to combat climate change

Russian billionaire's audacious plan. Resurrecting woolly mammoths to combat climate change

Hairy mammoths
Hairy mammoths
Images source: © Adobe Stock
4:43 PM EST, December 13, 2023

The billionaire's plan seeks to restore the 14,000-year-old ecosystem as a solution to the dangerous surge in methane emissions resulting from melting permafrost in Siberia. Methane, a gas far more damaging than carbon dioxide, is abundantly trapped within the vast Siberian tundra. His approach theorizes that reconstructing the Ice Age ecosystem could stall this discharge.

The Pleistocene Park in Siberia

This concept of a Pleistocene Park is not entirely new. It has been in the works for over a decade through a collaboration between Russia and the U.S.; however, geopolitical tensions with Ukraine have stalled progress. The intended park, an 8 square mile enclosure, currently hosts grazing Yakut horses and Kalmyk cows, whose existence aids the growth of carbon-absorbing plants. Melnichenko has also sponsored the migration of 14 musk oxen to the site, a population expected to expand tenfold in the coming years.

The Woolly Mammoth Resurrection

The next phase of this venture, as outlined by Melnichenko and his team, involves the resurrection of the woolly mammoth using DNA embedded in ice. Bloomberg reported the billionaire stressing the urgency of acting immediately. This sense of urgency derives from recent studies showing that the Russian Arctic is warming seven times faster than the rest of the globe, potentially leading to the release of an unfathomable amount of methane with unpredictable consequences.

The strategy involves populating a specific region with Ice Age animals in numbers that could rebalance different plant species and restore the frosty ecosystem reminiscent of tens of thousands of years ago. It's undoubtedly a bold undertaking, and questions remain about the impact this artificially constructed ecosystem will have on the climate. Despite the uncertainties, experts agree on the imperative of exploring every possible effort to prevent Siberian methane from permeating the atmosphere.

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