A real-world Jurassic Park is never going to happen, but shooting for a more recent prehistoric era might be more achievable. The Pleistocene Park project is aiming to rebuild a lost Ice Age ecosystem in Siberia, and its directors, the father-and-son team of Sergey and Nikita Zimov, say it could help slow the effects of climate change. Now, the initiative is running a crowdfunding campaign to help transport a new herd of animals to the park.
The project’s roots can be traced back to 1988, when Sergey Zimov first began grazing Yakutian horses – a large, stout breed that’s particularly well adapted to the bitter cold. In 1996, Pleistocene Park kicked off in earnest, with the long-term goal of increasing the density of animals living in Siberia to return the land to a state it hasn’t seen in 10,000 years.
“The park was unavoidable for me really,” Nikita Zimov, director of Pleistocene Park, tells New Atlas. “My dad started the first rewilding experiments when I was five, and Pleistocene Park officially started when I was 13. I lived here by the park for most of my life, except for high school and university from 14 to 20. My dad proposed for me to come back to the Station after university. I agreed. First years I was mostly doing what my dad told me, but I slowly took over most work on the Research Station and the Pleistocene Park. In the last few years I am fully in charge of those both.”