The Last Word: Re:wild’s Barney Long on Partnering with Dallas-Based Colossal To Save Species Facing Extinction

“We’re at the point where we need to do something dramatically innovative.”

Barney Long
Senior Director of Conservation Strategies 
.…on partnering with Dallas-based Colossal Biosciences to save species threatened by extinction.

Long’s Austin-based Re:wild and Dallas-based Colossal Biosciences have announced a new partnership to accelerate global efforts “to save species on the brink of extinction, search for lost species, and restore key habitats for species recovery and rewilding.”

Colossal is seeking to “de-extinct” the woolly mammoth via an elephant-mammoth hybrid, as well as to bring back the dodo bird and the Tasmanian tiger. Its investors include everyone from the CIA to Paris Hilton to a long list of VC firms and billionaires like tech investor and USIT Chairman Thomas Tull.

Combined with Re:wild’s extensive experience in wildlife and ecosystem conservation, the companies have developed a “10-year conservation strategy” to bring all their knowledge and expertise together.  

“I’ve dedicated my career to protecting and recovering species that may be down to their last few individuals,” Long said in a statement. “For some of them, protecting their remaining habitat will not be enough to allow them to recover. The possibilities that Colossal’s technology opens up for critically endangered species and ecosystems is game-changing.”

As Colossal’s “strategic conservation partner,” Re:wild will work with and guide it on “genetic rescue,” supporting the search for lost species, rewilding more than 30 threatened species back to their native ecosystems, and establishing international best practices for their shared pursuits.

“This partnership represents the next step in building Colossal’s conservation technologies into a revolutionary tool in the fight against biodiversity loss,” Colossal’s Chief Animal Officer Matt James said in a statement. “Merging Colossal and Re:wild’s collective conservation efforts, while bringing our scientific expertise to more of their projects, will greatly expand the reach of our technology and help to ensure we can save as many species as possible.”

In partnership with local governments, conservation organizations, and communities, the partners say they’ll focus initially on these threatened species:

  • Asian elephant
  • African forest elephant
  • African savanna elephant
  • Northern white rhino
  • Sumatran rhino
  • Pink pigeon
  • Victorian grassland earless dragon
  • Tasmanian devil

“By establishing a core focus and combining the strengths of each organization, we’re on track to a truly monumental conservation win,” said Colossal’s Chief Science Officer Beth Shapiro.

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