[CT Birds] Lions, Camels and Elephants Oh My

Dennis Varza dennisvz at optonline.net
Tue Jul 14 21:46:21 EDT 2009

Hi folks

This is just a little off topic but interesting to think about.

This is a proposal to reintroduce Pleistocene megafauna into the  
United States. They are serious and it looks like the start of a real  
program they will be promoting.

Before rejecting this out of hand you should read the paper, it is  
quite thoughtful.

Donlan, C. Josh et al. (11 Additional authors)

Pleistocene Rewinding: An Optimistic Agenda for Twenty-First Century  

American Naturalist 168 (660-681)

Large vertebrates are strong interactors in food webs, yet they were  
lost from most ecosystems after the dispersal of modern humans from  
Africa and Eurasia. We call for restoration of missing ecological  
functions and evolutionary potential of lost North American   
megafauna using extant conspecifics and related taxa. We refer to  
this restoration as Pleistocene  rewinding; it is conceived as  
carefully managed ecosystem manipulations whereby costs and benefit  
are objectively addressed on a case-by-case and locality-by locality  
basis. Pleistocene rewinding would deliberately promote large, long- 
lived species over pest and weed assemblages, facilitate the  
persistence and ecological effectiveness of megafauna on a global  
scale, and broaden the underlying premise of conservation from  
managing extinction to encompass restoring ecological and  
evolutionary processes. .......

Species for restoration

Bolson Tortoise: The largest American tortoise now a relict  
population in Mexico

Feral Horses: (already done)

Camels: North America is the origin of this group but became extinct.  
There could be managed population not unlike what is done in Australia

Cheetahs: North America was home to 2 species of Cheetahs albeit not  
as specialized.  The Prong Horn Antelope is considered it's main prey.

Lions: Yes, lions were once in North America. They commented that the  
lion was once the most common predator in the world.

Asian Elephants: Asian Elephants are closer to the mastedons  than  
the African Elepnants.

In the coming century, we will decide, by default or design, on the  
extent to which humanity tolerates other species and thus the future  
of biodiversity. The default scenario will surely include even more  
landscapes dominated by pests and weeds, the global extinction of  
more large vertebrates, and a continuing struggle to slow the loss of  

All I can say is look at the problems of restoring Wolves


More information about the CTBirds mailing list