Atomic Doomsday Wars, when they occur, will be destructive to all wild life but in particular to animal wild life. Combatant humans will be the intended targets but it will be relatively innocent civilian humans and absolutely innocent wild creatures which will suffer the most grievously. That is because most civil people and all wild living things are totally exposed to their environment and if that environment is suddenly changed by an atomic war they will be killed. If they happen to be outside of the blast zones they may still die if the radioactivity, nuclear winter and famine is beyond these creatures usual potential for adaptation.
Over long periods of time wild creatures bodies are adapted to live in the environment in which their ancestors lived and were evolved to fit. Because, nature is very selective over many generations with each species pressing its advantages to the ultimate, the overall fit of all species to its environment is precise. That is fine for a species when things are normal but when something really different happens, like the Chicxulub asteroid strike, all of these closely adapted species are at great risk of extinction. Humans are the greatest generalist in their adaptations of all of the larger animals and have the additional advantage of a much better mind and probably even more important a vast cultural heritage of stored experience. Humans will survive when every other creature larger than a mouse has gone extinct, unless the humans are specifically targeted by biological Weapons of Extermination (WOEs).
Yesterdays, post, Restoring animal life to a ravaged Earth. discussed The EarthArk Project Goals and Earthark Project – Sample Index Page which are designed to restore plant life to a ravaged Earth and the Life Haven Project which is designed to save a viable sample of humanity from the instant destruction of a Doomsday War. There is another problem which needs to be mentioned which is how to restore genetic variability to the world of wild plants and animals when there are very few surviving members of any given species. The EarthArks located at high altitude on a mountain in the Antarctic would be suitable for very long-term storage of seeds and of physical objects because the sub-surface temperature stays below -40° C. The post, Potential Earthark sites in central Antarctica lists three potential sites at ( -83.5 +83.5 ) ( -82.9 +60.0 ) and ( -85.6 +55.0 ). These were found on Google Earth but as they are not on the current Google Earth these particular mountains may have been cloud shadows. Another possible site is high in the Sor Rondane Mountains located at ( -72.104 +25.086 ). It would be above the obviously moving glaciers and only 150 miles from the ocean so getting there would be easier than the far inland sites. There is a station at the foot of the mountains called Princess Elizabeth Station, ( -71.95 ) rene Robert www.antarcticstation.org. There is an air port at ( -71.95 2.46 ) which services very large airplanes. This would be helpful for bring in containers which could be trucked inland to the mountains storage places.
The animals themselves could not be kept in Antarctica but the frozen sperm and even fertilized eggs could be. Human oocytes are routinely kept for years before being implanted and brought to full term babies. These are stored at the temperature of liquid Nitrogen which is much colder than the -40° C which can be permanently maintained without artificial refrigeration at some sites in Antarctica. However, at the -40° C temperature of the environment it would not be so difficult to maintain the lower temperatures with a little electric power from a wind-driven generator. These are in common use in Antarctic stations and perhaps further cooling would not be necessary if appropriate storage medium could be found.
Even if viable sperm and oocytes could be maintained for many years even centuries it would still be necessary for some female members of the species to survive to bear the children and raise them. If a single breeding pair of a species survives the species would have so little genetic variability that the required inbreeding would probably fail to prevent extinction. However, with even this pair there was a bank with hundreds even thousands of stored sperm and oocytes the species could be brought back to full vitality in a couple of generations of artificial insemination.
The world is not hoplessly lost if the EarthArk included a sophisticated sperm and oocyte bank.