What locally-extinct species would you like to see reintroduced?

What locally-extinct species (or taxon) would you like to see reintroduced where you observe?

I work in a California State Park that has not had beavers for at least several decades. Beavers in particular are on my mind because of California’s drought. There are lots of creeks through seasonally wet meadows that would make wonderful beaver habitat. There are beavers further down in the same watershed. There is the need for wetland habitat and groundwater recharge. So I very much wish it was legal and feasible to re-introduce beavers. It is not, and I will have to hope they eventually work their way up to the headwaters of our watershed by themselves.

What extant species do you wish could be re-introduced in your area? Why is that the one that comes to mind? Thank you.


Decades ago, one species that I hoped I’d rediscover in my state (New Mexico) was the North American River Otter which was assumed extinct here since the mid-20th century. Amazingly, years later, I was one of the coordinators for reintroducing this species to one river system in the state and it is now re-established. (Colorado also helped out by reintroducing not far from the New Mexico border, so we currently have otters in two separate drainage basins in NM.)

Another is Black-footed Ferret which almost became extinct as a species rangewide. I’m now involved in reintroducing this animal to our state at one site. Hopefully we can someday reestablish it in multiple locations.

Grizzly Bear? That one might be out of reach.


Oh, gosh!!! What an interesting question!!!

Maybe Mammoths? Mammoth bones have been found locally.

The manager of a local native plant restoration area (an abandoned 9-hole golf course) told us stories about when mammoth grazed the meadow. If I recall what he said, Certain native shrubs (salt bush?) need hard pruning to flourish now. Those plants co-evolved with mammoths, which would eat them nearly to the ground . Without hard pruning, the shrubs grew to be rather spindly.

I can think of many critters :grinning:, but supper is calling. :wink:


There really aren’t any locally extinct species in my area that are able to be brought back. I would (theoretically) love to see Wisconsin reintroduce Moose, Woodland Caribou, American Bison, Wolverine, Cougar, ect. but I don’t think there’s any suitable habitat left. About the only thing I can think of that would have suitable habitat left would be American Burying Beetle.

Not my area but I really want to see Grizzlies and Jaguars return to the Southwest.


To everyone on this thread - have you considered the “British Solution”? ;)


You mean for beaver reintroduction?

I omitted Jaguar from my list because we already have them, although maybe only once per decade. Arizona sees them a little more regularly. But, yeah, jaguar too.


wow - good question. I always think about Mountain Lions or wolves but the fact is that would be problematic at best in Pennsyvlania. I feel an immense sense of loss that we don’t have these any more, but I don’t know how they could possibly be introduced back into today’s society. We’ve gotten used to not having anything terribly threatening in our landscape…

I remember learning about the Karner Blue Butterfly and imagining that it would only take a little habitat restoration to bring it back. And then I learned that even if its original range had been left intact, it still would not have even come close to where I was residing. And then I learned even more - about how fussy a butterfly it is, and how it won’t travel more than a few hundred meters from where it was hatched, and how we would need to restore an oak savannah (of which there are not many left here - I sure hope they are protecting/maintaining the one up near Erie) and it seemed to make more sense to support the efforts to preserve them in Ohio and New York and perhaps other places rather than try to bring them back here… although I also worry that a few well-placed disasters could wipe them out entirely if we put “all our eggs in one basket.” I don’t know now… I clearly don’t know enough about the animals we are missing to make any good suggestions, but I feel like we need to preserve what we have with everything we got.


Yes. It’s not just beavers either, there’s a whole underground society reintroducing extirpated animals to Britain - that’s how boars and certain butterflies have returned. Rumor has it lynx is next.


The rusty-patched bumble bee


I think OP meant currently alive ones, only locally extinct, or we’d choose on-avian dinos and all kinds of funny mammals. :)


Going on the assumption that it still exists in Mexico and is not completely extinct: Bombus variabilis

One that I actually heard a rumor that a specimen was collected within 100 miles of me within the last decade (unconfirmed), so this one’s a maybe: Bombus ashtoni.


I’d rather want to see their populations getting back without reintroduction. We had beavers added to population, and now there’s just too many of them and nothink to take them as wolves don’t come that close to cities and rare anywhere out of biggest forests, California probably has better situation with big predators, but still it’s something to take in mind.
The cool ones I’d like to see back here are willow ptarmigan and european roller, sad cases are Apollo and Speckled Buzzing Grasshopper.


I would also add that reintroduced species sometimes change their habits. As an example Peregrine Falcons are very migratory, but the re-introduced populations don’t seem to migrate.


I used to do a lot of hiking in the Los Padres National Forest, in particular in the San Rafael Wilderness and, while I never saw any beavers directly, I’m pretty sure here are a few left deep in the backcountry as I used to sometimes find sticks, mainly in the Sisquoc, that had been very clearly chewed by beavers. Or were as recently as the early 2000s.

I’m familiar with beavers from time in Canada, Alaska, and New England and there is no question that these were beaver sticks.


Just found an article confirming that there are beavers in the Sisquoc: https://songsofthewilderness.com/2010/12/31/beavers-among-us/


Beavers have a way of reestablishing themselves in unexpected places if given half a chance (i.e., not persecuted). I’ve seen them or their sign on some streams in the Southwest US that I would never have guessed they could be present. Occasionally, though, they need a little human assistance to get to streams that are not very accessible.


Apparently in the California Central Coast they were hunted out, intentionally reestablished, hunted out again, and reestablished again. Last time was in the 1940s.

Interestingly, the beavers in the Southwest were at such low numbers that they didn’t face the hunting pressure that beavers in more northern and more wet environments did, so those may actually be remnants of the original population in the area that established when the climate in North America was substantially different from now.


I’m in Massachusetts and extirpated species that I’d love to see are Elk, Cougars, Wolverines, and Canadian Lynx. I’d also love to see Sea Mink rise from extinction. Also American Chestnuts please. And I’d like to see the Hellbender and Green Salamander populations rise to what it once was, lastly please hope that B. jacksonii makes a rebound from near extinction.


Ever since I learned Five-lined Skinks used to live in my area I’ve wonder why nobody’s reintroduced them. I guess preserving what we still have is a higher priority given the uncertainty of successful reintroduction.
Timber Rattlesnake was extirpated a long time ago, I can understand why that one hasn’t been.

Passenger Pigeon? Not sure if Carolina Parakeet existed in southern Ontario.

American Chestnut for sure, there are still a small number left but too far apart to interbreed.

This prompt makes me want to know better what used to live here. I have no idea how far the range of Moose, bison etc. used to go…


There’s another issue with beaver reintroduction that came up in New England.

Reintroductions tend to take place more or less all at once rather than staggered over the years. This results in a boom-bust type population cycle as most of the beavers eat out their area and go looking for new territory all at pretty much the same time, instead of staggered over time as is the natural cycle for them.

Beavers were reintroduced to New England around 100 years ago and they are only now starting to settle back into a more natural population dynamic… still not many natural predators for them there though.


American Chestnut would be amazing, as would many species taken out by specific diseases or parasites - presumably there would still be habitat to support them in the absence of those threats.

Also would love to see Eastern Indigo snakes returning to their range. Reintroduction has been tried and populations seem to be holding on a bit, but not taking off either.