Friday night topic: Megafauna in North America?


— 5:43 PM on August 19, 2005

I believe we have several threads in the forums on this topic already, but I can't pass up the chance to discuss this week's stories about a proposed plan to bring large animals like African elephants, lions, and cheetahs to North America. The goals are several, including restoring something of the ecosystem that existed in North America during the Pleistocene era, providing a habitat for species endangered in other parts of the world, and possibly providing some safari parks for folks to visit.

Of course, such a plan would inevitably be controversial, for many reasons. We would be introducing decidedly non-native species into a foreign habitat, with unpredictable results. New predators would move into areas where ranchers are trying to raise cattle. Some of those predators would end up eating people, as mountain lions have been doing with increasing frequency in the West and Southwest. But it also sounds like one of our few options for preventing the extinction of some really cool animals, and so the plan has some appeal—at least to me.

This proposal is also a very big turn-around from past approaches to environmentalism, leading this guy to make an observation that has gotta annoy some folks. But I won't get too far into that.

Anyhow, should we introduce "megafauna" from other continents into North America? Discuss.

 
   
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