Author Topic: Pleistocene Rewilding  (Read 4067 times)

krollusk
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Pleistocene Rewilding
« on: January 02, 2007, 03:23:06 pm »
Beasts of both worlds: Scientists propose 'rewilding'
By Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY
What North America needs is a few good saber-toothed tigers and a couple of mastodons and mammoths like in the good (very) old days.
 
But with those animals extinct, conservation biologists write in the journal Nature Thursday, elephants, lions and camels will do. The idea is to restore the environmental balance the continent lost when people arrived from Eurasia 13,000 years ago and slaughtered the giant animals in about 400 years.

Today, Africa's large mammals are dying while the human population of the Great Plains is declining, they write. So why not restock with the cousins many-times removed of the very same animals our ancestors hunted into extinction so long ago?

They call it "Pleistocene rewilding," from the geological era that ended 10,000 years ago. Conservationists believe it can reinvigorate the nation's environmental and economic health.

This idea took seed 20 years ago with biogeographer Paul Martin of the University of Arizona. Conservationists often talk about taking the United States back to where it was when Columbus arrived in 1492. But Martin realized the real benchmark is 13,000 years ago.

The continent teemed with mastodons, mammoths, saber-toothed tigers, five species of horses and 13 species of camels. Last year, 14 ecologists and conservation biologists met on media mogul Ted Turner's Ladder Ranch in New Mexico to hash out how reintroducing proxy species might play out.

Their resulting commentary in the journal suggests a series of controlled experiments on fenced private land as already has been done with condors and bison. Next might come giant tortoises, then horses, camels and elephants. And, much later, cheetahs and lions. "We're not advocating backing up a van of cheetahs and letting them go near Tucson," says Josh Donlan of Cornell University.

Even naysayers acknowledge it's one of the biggest ideas to hit conservation biology in decades.

"Hats off to them for being provocative," says M. Sanjayan of the Nature Conservancy. "But if you want to think big, why not think big in Africa?"


Other articles and pages on the same subject:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/11/magazine/11ideas_section3-6.html?ex=1291957200&en=0da52c47332354ec&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

http://futurefeeder.com/index.php/archives/2005/08/20/pleistocene-rewilding-wild-animals-may-roam-again/

http://www.rewilding.org/

http://althouse.blogspot.com/2005/08/pleistocene-re-wilding.html

PDF: http://www.ag.unr.edu/sparrow/eecb/donlan_etal_2006.pdf

There are a million others, but these are good to start out...



So, what do you guys think? Do you think it's right, do you think it's wrong? I am absolutely in love with the idea, personally. But there are practical concerns to consider, such as large predators escaping and coming into urban areas, and grazing animals consuming the plant-life faster than it can regrow. But other than those things, which I am certain can be dealt with, I think it is a marvelous idea. What are your thoughts?
« Last Edit: January 02, 2007, 04:22:39 pm by krollusk »

phyrrestar
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Re: Pleistocene Rewilding
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2007, 04:32:53 pm »
As someone who has followed the wolf reintroduction here in the US, I have mixed feelings about it.  Animals die out for a reason.  I don't think we could coexist as it stands.  Too many problems and little to no benefits.  If nature had the animals die out, why should we defy it?  As long as we aren't actively putting an end to species, we can just let nature do its job.  Trying to fight it just keeps pushing us more into dangerous territory, in my opinion.  We attempt to surpass death far too much these days.

Moloch

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Re: Pleistocene Rewilding
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2007, 04:41:04 pm »
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« Last Edit: January 09, 2011, 01:40:44 pm by Moloch »

krollusk
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Re: Pleistocene Rewilding
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2007, 04:47:01 pm »
As someone who has followed the wolf reintroduction here in the US, I have mixed feelings about it.  Animals die out for a reason.  I don't think we could coexist as it stands.  Too many problems and little to no benefits.  If nature had the animals die out, why should we defy it?  As long as we aren't actively putting an end to species, we can just let nature do its job.  Trying to fight it just keeps pushing us more into dangerous territory, in my opinion.  We attempt to surpass death far too much these days.


I can understand where you're coming from on that point, and I also agree to a certain extent. But I personally believe in messing with nature, just for the sake of science, and to see if it can be done. I also believe in cloning and combining human and animal DNA to create hybrids. Not for any practical reason, but just to see if it can be done. I don't bother myself with abstractions such as right and wrong, natural and unnatural. But I can definitely understand what you're saying. And you're probably right, it might best just not to mess with nature.


We already have enough problems feeding our world's population as it stands without introducing species that would be competition. These animals thrived at a time when humans were not the dominant species population -wise, so this would be an insanely bad idea in reality. Oh, and let's not get into the 'Law of Unintended Consequences'.


Very true. But don't you think that people starving and such is a part of survival? And have you maybe considered that competition might be good for us, as a species? I mean, how much would you love to see those arrogant red-ass chicken-necks at the NRA (Neurotic Redneck Association) chased down by a hunting group of lionesses?

Robigus
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Re: Pleistocene Rewilding
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2007, 04:53:31 pm »
I don't think it's really a matter of right and wrong, but more a matter of practical and impractical.  I don't know, maybe it's just me.

krollusk
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Re: Pleistocene Rewilding
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2007, 05:10:50 pm »
I don't think it's really a matter of right and wrong, but more a matter of practical and impractical.  I don't know, maybe it's just me.


I agree, but I was reading up on the Pleistocene Rewilding project, and I saw the terms right and wrong thrown around more than a few times. That's why I brought it up.

Moloch

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Re: Pleistocene Rewilding
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2007, 02:14:32 am »
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« Last Edit: January 09, 2011, 01:40:57 pm by Moloch »

Alphamale

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Re: Pleistocene Rewilding
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2007, 10:19:40 pm »
note that we screwed up more then a handfull in our  rise to what we are today.
Music may tame the savage beast, but not as fast as a brick to the back of the head.