The Lesson: A species on the brink of extinction can be saved – but at what point do the expenses and resources spent on that effort become too much to bear? This question has become increasingly difficult to answer, as scientists and journalists alike work to understand the merit of saving a species when doing so has no clear-cut benefit, but this conservationist says that these efforts can result in groundbreaking new discoveries, biotechnology, and perhaps even commercial products.

Notable Excerpt: “…there’s another way that all this ferret saving work could have indirect benefits … CRISPR could be used to help ferrets. But CRISPR is so new, there’s a lot to be discovered still, and maybe when scientists poke around with CRISPR for ferrets, they’ll learn something about disease resistance, or genetic diversity. And that could be used to save other species; that could include keystone species, like the bush elephant, or the coral.”

The Guest: Kimberly Fraser is a conservation specialist and a trailblazer in the fight to save the black-footed ferret.

The Host: Dylan Matthews is a journalist and Harvard Graduate. He has written segments for The Washington Post, and was awarded their “Publisher’s Award” in October 2013. Currently, Matthews is a correspondent for Vox, where his writings range from politically scientific to the environmentally conscientious.

The Podcast: If you want more content on effective altruism, you can stream The Future Perfect podcast on Vox’s website, iTunes, and Stitcher.

(LISTEN to the inspiring talk below) – Photo by Kimberly Fraser / USFWS

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