A hopeless attempt to save the wild goat from extinction twice

The Pyrenean goat is the first animal to revive from the threat of extinction and is also the only animal to become extinct twice

Pyrenees wild goats, or bucardo, used to be common in the mountains of the Pyrenees on the French-Spanish border as well as the Basque Country, Navarre, northern Aragon, and northern Catalonia, according to IFL Science. Though the region’s iconic animal, its massive curved horns make the Pyrenees an attractive target for poachers. By the second half of the 20th century, animals gradually became absent from the hillsides. Efforts to increase breeding took place throughout the 1980s, but it was too late. In 1997, only one Pyrenees wild goat remained. Rangers found the remains, a 13-year-old female goat named Celia, under a fallen tree in a remote area of ​​Ordesa National Park in January 2000. The Pyrenees are officially classified as extinct along with the dodo

Alberto Fernández-Arias, a wildlife veterinarian who studied how to revive the Spanish chamois, raised a female goat for 10 months before it died. He took cell samples from its ears and ribs, took it to the lab to grow it, and then frozen it at deep temperature. ‘Mammal cloning was once thought to be impossible. In 1996, Dolly the sheep was born. And that event changed many things,’ Alberto said. Drawing on Alberto’s experience of reincarnating the Spanish chamois, a team of French and Spanish scientists led by Jose Folch began an effort to revive the Pyrenees wild goat
Folch’s team injected nucleus from the cells of the female goat Celia into domestic goat eggs that had had their genetic material removed. They then transplanted the eggs into a hybrid of a Spanish chamois and domestic goat. They successfully implanted 57 fetuses. However, only 7 crossbred animals became pregnant and 6 of them miscarried. The other child gave birth successfully. A female Pyrenees wild goat was born on July 30, 2003. ‘I pulled the little goat out. That moment was the first time in history that an extinct animal had come back to life’: Alberto said
This event marks the first time that humans have defeated extinction in such a short time. ‘As soon as I held the animal in my arms, I knew it was in respiratory failure. We had prepared oxygen tanks and special medicines, but it couldn’t breathe properly. After 7-10 minutes, the animal Dead goat,’ Alberto recounted. The story was not known to the public until the scientists published the study in 2009. However, funding was depleted and many researchers left the project, leading to the Pyrenees’ extinction once more. Again. The team doesn’t see themselves as pioneers of eradication. All they do is for the Pyrenees
‘When the Pyrenees are alive, we try to save them. When they’re all dead, we’re still trying to save them,’ Alberto explains.