[CT Birds] Lions, Camels and Elephants Oh My
dennisvz at optonline.net
Tue Jul 14 21:46:21 EDT 2009
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
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
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