It's called "rewilding": a growing worldwide movement that aims to turn back the developmental clock by reintroducing wild animals to their onetime habitats. By doing so, the theory goes, there’s every chance the places we’ve messed up with our relentless building and hunting and agricultural terraforming will return to their healthy, verdant former selves.
In North America, The Rewilding Institute is calling for the reintroduction of predator species such as wolves into national parks. It might sound dangerous, but the reintroduction of the grey wolf to Yellowstone National Park in 1995 helped improved the park's river systems and beaver populations, as the wolves helped stem the presence of leaf-hungry elk.
Meanwhile, with the aptly named Tauros Programme, a rewilding group in Europe is trying to crossbreed an extinct type of cow back into existence. They're also trying to save the bison from extinction by creating 1500-acre park in Holland that mimics a Palaeolithic ecosystem.
Closer to home, Rewilding Australia is working to reintroduce the Tasmanian devil and the eastern quoll back to mainland Australia. We’re not sure of how feasible this might be, but we’d personally love to see the stocky little guys back on the mainland.
Perhaps the most ambitious rewilding project of them all – and the one that more closely resembles a Michael Crichton novel – is Revive and Restore’s plan to “genetically rescue” the woolly mammoth. Though that plan might creep into Frankenstein territory, the broader concept of restoring animal populations and eco-systems to their former glory is certainly a welcome one.