I heard this news story on NPR some months ago, with equal amazement, and remember a few additional details. The force which geckoes use is not the electromagnetic, but Van der Waals force. This force is so strong that it was a mystery at first how the geckoes could remove their feet from the surface once they were attached. Apparently, they accomplish this by stiffening the hairs, reducing the area of contact. In essense, peeling their feet off the wall.

Already robot developers are working on prototypes which employ this principle to climb, say, the insides of pipes. This can be taken as a hard-nosed, commercial argument for biodiversity. Who knows what potential advances will never be realized because a species goes extinct before we divine its secrets?