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QuietWind
Wednesday, August 17th, 2005, 11:32 PM
Elephants, lions to roam North America again?

Plan to reintroduce large mammals, ecological history parks


Cheetahs, lions, camels and elephants would roam wild in the United States under a new proposal to re-introduce large animals similar to those that humans hunted to extinction long ago.

The scientists would like to start now, using large tracts of private land, and expand the effort through the century.
"If we only have 10 minutes to present this idea, people think we're nuts," admits Harry Greene, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell University. "But if people hear the one-hour version, they realize they haven't thought about this as much as we have. Right now, we are investing all of our megafauna hopes on one continent Africa."


for complete story: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8983461/

Agrippa
Thursday, August 18th, 2005, 12:16 AM
One of the reasons for the success of the European colonisation of America was that the continent still lacked giant mammals which inhabited f.e. Africa, so there were not big predators as dangerous as in Africa, and not diseases adapted to the big herbivores.
Interesting idea which could lead to man made troubles though, because such experiments went very often in the wrong direction...both for humans and the ecosystem, just think about rabbits in Australia.

Scholar
Thursday, August 18th, 2005, 12:38 AM
I think it would be very interesting having wild elephants and such in your backyard. If they can definetly isolate the animals in certain areas (especially the cheatahs) I think it would be a good idea. Elephants in America, crazy...

Appalachian
Thursday, August 18th, 2005, 01:03 AM
What an utterly stupid idea. :thumbdown


If they want more large herbivores, then they should concentrate on increasing/reintroducing the population of American bison (http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Bison_bison.html).
http://www.ownbyphotography.com/Bison.jpg

If they want more large predators, then they should concentrate on increasing/reintroducing the population of panthers (http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Puma_concolor.html) and grey (http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Canis_lupus.html) or red (http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Canis_rufus.html) wolves.
http://www.turtletrack.org/Issues02/Co04062002/Art/bigcat.jpg
http://www.ecores.uzhgorod.ua/Fotogalereya/fauna/Canis_lupus_01.JPG
http://images.encarta.msn.com/xrefmedia/sharemed/targets/images/pho/t628/T628235A.jpg


It seems to me these academics are trying to replace all of North America's fauna, people included, and turn the entire continent in Africa! :mad

Agrippa
Thursday, August 18th, 2005, 01:06 AM
I agree, it makes much more sense to protect the indigenous fauna more and to spread it than trying stupid experiments...as I said, such experiments lead quite often to rather negative consequences, though as bigger an animal is, as simpler it is to get rid of it if there are problems...

QuietWind
Thursday, August 18th, 2005, 01:24 AM
Down here in Texas, on the way to my daughter's gym, we pass by two ranches that have Zebras. My daughter and I have counted herds of at least 8 zebra on each one. My mom was telling me about a guy down here near us who has a wild animal farm where he imports animals from Africa and then people pay him thousands of dollars to come hunt on his land-- like an African safari. The thing is, in America, people have been keeping and are keeping wild animals like Lions and Tigers for a long time now. It's a big industry. We have wild animal refuge places that these animals often end up in because the owners don't take care of them or are caught having them. We have a couple of these places down here in Texas near me also.

I agree that it would be best to reintroduce native wild animals to North America-- like the bison (which we have on ranches near here also.) I can also understand the government wanting to make a big zoo out of the land, when people are already insitent on bringing in wild animals from Africa.

Dr. Solar Wolff
Thursday, August 18th, 2005, 06:23 AM
No, no, no. You guys are missing some points about the ecology of North America--at least the American West.

When the white man arrived, he took pictures of landscapes, mountains, plains, forests, etc. Now, forest service types and logging types use these pictures to show that the forests are expanding and thickening and becoming more diverse. They say this is unnatural and we (residents) are given a choice. We can either allow logging or allow "controlled burns" (which we all have found are not "controlled").

What really happened is that the Indians used fire to herd game for slaughter. Each year they burned grasslands, forests, etc. For instance, today, the Yosemite Valley is a forest while 50 years ago it was a parkland. The Indians burnt it every year.

What is the solution? What happened before the Indians? Large animals grazed upon these areas and naturally thinned out the vegetation. Bison and mastadons were forest animals, believe it or not. Today's plains bison are newcomers from Mexico after the last of the woodland bison had been eleminated and the older bison lantiform and been killed.

What is needed to restore our western forests is a return of large herbivors and carnivors. We need woodland bison. Fortunately, some still live in Canada. We need the large pig-like peccaries. We need more elk. We need horses and camels which once roamed here. We need grizzly bears. We need wolves. We still have some condors but one reason they declined was that there were no big Pleistocene animals to eat and the smaller ones were the natual food of turkey vultures and black vultures.

Someday, it may be possible to restore the Columbian mammoth and its various regional sub-species as well as the American mastadon as well as the other Plestocene fauna. Dire wolves may likewise be possible to regenerate. Lions, sabertooth cats, and short face bears are incompatable with modern life and may have to be kept in fenced reserves, assuming they could be brought back one day.

The result would be truely balanced ecosystems. Yellowstone National Park is already moving in this direction. We need to lose the idea of the Indian as a positive natural force and recognize that he was as intrusive as we are. We need also to recognize that the forests and plains are a living system and evolved and depend on a faunal balance, not fire and logging, to remain healthy.

Todesritter
Thursday, August 18th, 2005, 09:26 AM
(SOURCE: AP Wire (http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGB69FQ3ICE.html))

Scientists Suggest Relocating Africa's Poster Species to North American Ranchland

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By Joseph B. Verrengia The Associated Press http://media.tbo.com/tbo/images/spacer.gif
Published: Aug 17, 2005 http://media.tbo.com/tbo/images/spacer.gif

DENVER (AP) - Lions stalking deer in the stubble of a Nebraska corn field. Elephants trumpeting across Colorado's high plains. Cheetah slouching through the West Texas scrub. Prominent ecologists are floating an audacious plan that sounds like a Jumanji sequel - transplant African wildlife to the Great Plains of North America.

Their radical proposal is being greeted with gasps and groans from other scientists and conservationists who recall previous efforts to relocate foreign species halfway around the world, often with disastrous results.

The authors contend it could help save Africa's poster species from extinction, where protection is spotty and habitat is vanishing.

They also believe the relocated animals could restore biodiversity on this continent to a condition closer to what nature was like before humans overran the landscape.

They suggest starting with zoo animals. The perimeters of newly created reserves would be fenced.

"We aren't backing a truck up to some dump site in the dark and turning lose a bunch of elephants," insisted Cornell University ecologist Harry W. Greene, one of the plan's authors.

While most modern African species never lived on the American prairie, the scientists believe that today's animals could duplicate the natural roles played by their departed, even larger cousins - mastodons, camels and saber-toothed cats - that roamed for more than 1 million years alongside antelope and bison.

Relocating large animals to vast ecological parks and private reserves over the next century would begin to restore the balance, they said, while offering new ecotourism opportunities to a withering region.

The scientists' plan appears in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature. It echoes the controversial 1987 Buffalo Commons proposal by Frank and Deborah Popper of Rutgers University to cut down fences of abandoned farms and reconnect corridors for native prairie wildlife.

A similar Pleistocene park is being established in Siberia. Scientists are importing bison from Canada to replace the native variety that vanished about 500 years ago.

Some ecologists said it is important to try such a bold plan. Otherwise, they said hundreds more species are likely to go extinct in coming decades and entire ecosystems like grasslands will fundamentally change.

"We're beginning to get backed into a corner," said Terry Chapin of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. "It's something worth trying."

But the plan is triggering thunderclaps of criticism, with discouraging words like "stupid" and "defeatist" raining down in torrents.

Scientists point to Australia, which was overrun by rabbits and poisonous cane toads after misguided species relocations.

"It is not restoration to introduce animals that were never here," said University of Washington anthropologist Donald K. Grayson. "Why introduce Old World camels and lions when there are North American species that could benefit from the same kind of effort?"

Given the continuing political struggle over the reintroduction of wolves in the rural West, others wonder how African lions would be at home on the range.

"How many calves or lambs it would take to feed a family of lions for a month?" said Steve Pilcher, executive vice president of the Montana Stockgrowers Association. "We sort of know what it takes for wolves, but something tells me we would be in a whole new ballgame."

Some conservationists said the plan would further damage the prospects of African species on their native turf, as well as that continent's hopes for sustainable economic development.

"Such relocations would affect future tourism opportunities," said Elizabeth Wamba, the East Africa spokeswoman for the International Fund for Animal Welfare in Nairobi, Kenya. "The welfare of the animals would have been reduced by transporting and exposing them to different eco-climatic conditions."

The idea of "rewilding" the Great Plains grew from a retreat at Ladder Ranch near Truth or Consequences, N.M. The 155,550-acre property is owned by media mogul and conservationist Ted Turner.

Ecologists at the ranch are planning to reintroduce the Bolson tortoise. These 100-pound burrowers were found across the Southwest, but now survive in a corner of northern Mexico's Chihuahuan Desert.

The extent of Turner's interest in the larger rewilding plan was not immediately clear. Mike Phillips, who directs the Turner Endangered Species Fund and has directed wolf reintroductions in the Yellowstone region, was unavailable for comment.

The renewed presence of many large mammals might turn back the ecological clock in a variety of subtle ways.

For example, elephants eat woody plants that have overtaken grasslands. Could they act as Rototillers to restore the prairie?

Lions would be a harder sell, even if they would thin elk herds.

"Lions eat people," said co-author Josh Donlan of Cornell. "There has to be a pretty serious attitude shift on how you view predators."

AP-ES-08-17-05 1733EDT




"Lions eat people," said co-author Josh Donlan


Those wacky scientists....:D

CountBloodSpawn
Thursday, August 18th, 2005, 04:54 PM
Elephants, lions to roam North America again?

Plan to reintroduce large mammals, ecological history parks


Cheetahs, lions, camels and elephants would roam wild in the United States under a new proposal to re-introduce large animals similar to those that humans hunted to extinction long ago.

The scientists would like to start now, using large tracts of private land, and expand the effort through the century.
"If we only have 10 minutes to present this idea, people think we're nuts," admits Harry Greene, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell University. "But if people hear the one-hour version, they realize they haven't thought about this as much as we have. Right now, we are investing all of our megafauna hopes on one continent — Africa."


for complete story: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8983461/[/Quote]

Actually Jennifer the American Hollywood elite has had a re-introduction of larges animals type thing going already...but behind everyones back in the form of a trend...a trend that has been sweeping the rich elite of the U.S.
its called the exotic pet trend...although because these rich people and celebrabities are keeping these large lions,tigers and elephants as pets in their homes...its not exactly helpful or safe for our society or that of the animals themselves

anyway I admire those scientists for their ecological ideas...however the wild life and wild enviroment has already been maintaining its self well...and introducing new foreign species to the enviroment could actually mess it up

Dr. Solar Wolff
Friday, August 19th, 2005, 06:35 AM
I would like to make it clear that I am not for the introduction of non-American species to North America. The only possible questions would arise with horses, camels and lions. These three extinct species in North America all have very, very close relatives if not actually the same species in the Old World. There were no cheetahs in the New World, the cheetah-like cat was closer to a cougar. Living elephants were never in the New World.