please, please, please someone tell me the chinese have some of those tissue samples in liquid nitrogen. given some technological progress then, we might be able to bring the baiji back to life in a century or soThis is a common sentiment, and it's basically what I believed would save most of our endangered wildlife till recently. Then I read concilience by E. O. Wilson, and it reminded me that we have never successfully (re)created an ecosystem, we don't understand the natural balance of them well enough on our own. Once the food chain starts going, we won't be able to put it all back together again, without it there to study, we don't really know how it works.
Sure, a new ecosystem equilibrium will come about in the creatures absence, generally one less stable because of the absence, either leaving its food source unchecked(to a degree), or leaving a predator without a meal(once again, to a degree). Once the ecosystem equilibruim lost, it's lost to us forever - especially if you're trying to count on future tech once the ecosystem as it will have drastically changed in the intervening time.
This is a serious threat to human survival, and we need to take it seriously soon or we'll pay for it as a species, even as a planet as a whole. The baiji may not be the straw that breaks the camel's back and makes the system start to truly unravel, but it is another destabilizing element, another straw on the back of a weighed down ecosystem.