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#117885 - 08/18/05 04:42 AM Scientists: Transplant African species to Texas
Azure Offline


Registered: 08/18/05
Posts: 1
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Scientists Suggest Relocating Africa's Poster Species to North American Ranchland

By Joseph B. Verrengia The Associated Press
Published: Aug 17, 2005

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.




Finally. They should have thought of bringing the lions to the Christians years ago.

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#117886 - 08/18/05 06:18 AM Re: Scientists: Transplant African species to Texas [Re: Azure]
Insurgent Offline
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Registered: 08/08/01
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North America is mostly devoid of all of the real native lifeforms that existed before "white man came, put up his stupid fences. Stupid white man."

From what I'm to understand, seeing a herd of Elephants in Nebraska would really be no different than seeing a Starling bird here. There simply is no turning back now.

I suspect this idea will win. Its pretty clear why the "poster species" are being moved. Why worry about local biodiversity when we can bring the ever so popular wildlife of Africa to our continent.
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#117887 - 08/18/05 07:24 AM Re: Scientists: Transplant African species to Texas [Re: Insurgent]
Roho_the_Rooster Offline
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I don't like to be alarmist, but I can't help but think about Jurassic Park.
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#117888 - 08/18/05 10:40 AM Re: Scientists: Transplant African species to Texas [Re: Azure]
Griffin Offline


Registered: 08/16/05
Posts: 76
Loc: Long Island
Methinks that is really not a good idea...
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#117889 - 08/18/05 11:37 AM Re: Scientists: Transplant African species to Texas [Re: Roho_the_Rooster]
the_poison_elf Offline


Registered: 10/08/04
Posts: 113
Loc: Auburn, Maine, USA
Quote:

I don't like to be alarmist, but I can't help but think about Jurassic Park.




Someone else readys Fark headlines, perhaps?

As far as the actual topic...go for it. The north american ecosystem is allready pretty much whatever we have/will make of it. Same thing for these animals' original ecosystem, now that I think about it. So long as they don't start hunting preserves for the critters anytime soon, I'm ok with it.
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#117890 - 08/18/05 12:18 PM Re: Scientists: Transplant African species to Texas [Re: the_poison_elf]
Roho_the_Rooster Offline
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Quote:

Quote:

I don't like to be alarmist, but I can't help but think about Jurassic Park.




Someone else readys Fark headlines, perhaps?

As far as the actual topic...go for it. The north american ecosystem is allready pretty much whatever we have/will make of it. Same thing for these animals' original ecosystem, now that I think about it. So long as they don't start hunting preserves for the critters anytime soon, I'm ok with it.




Damn...my server at work won't let me go to that link. I was being tongue-in-cheek.
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#117891 - 08/18/05 05:12 PM Re: Scientists: Transplant African species to Texas [Re: Azure]
Jack_Lantern Offline
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Registered: 07/06/05
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I think there is a reason these species are going extinct, and we are only part of it. The idea that we need to "preserve" the wildlife of our planet for the sake of it is ludicrous. Enviroments change, the earth will recover, it's called homeostasis. The people that want to shrink wrap the world and protect it from change are the same kind of people that want to shrink wrap people and save them from sin. Big mammals had there time. The only african wildlife I'd support saving is the great apes, because I like monkeys. The rest can follow the dinosaures for all I care.
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#117892 - 08/18/05 05:50 PM Re: Scientists: Transplant African species to Texas [Re: Insurgent]
Mr. Obsidian Offline
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Registered: 10/29/04
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Quote:

I suspect this idea will win. Its pretty clear why the "poster species" are being moved. Why worry about local biodiversity when we can bring the ever so popular wildlife of Africa to our continent.




Yep, distractions, distractions...
Anything to keep the masses' eyes "on the pinstripes".

Plus, everyone knows that giraffes are way cooler than starlings!

Now, if you'll excuse me...
I have a laughing hyena to attend to!
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~ Charles Bukowski


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#117893 - 08/18/05 06:05 PM Re: Scientists: Transplant African species to Texas [Re: Azure]
False_Messiah78 Offline
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Registered: 12/27/04
Posts: 1449
Loc: New York State
This sounds like a horrible idea to me! Think Jurrasic Park crossed with the terribly failed Australia experiment. However, if they introduce a whole bunch of lions into the Bible Belt.... well then, I may just go along with it Ah, perhaps the glory days of feeding Christians to the lions will return!
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#117894 - 08/18/05 07:11 PM Re: Scientists: Transplant African species to Texas [Re: Jack_Lantern]
Discipline Offline
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Registered: 08/25/03
Posts: 6796
Loc: Forever West
Ah, yes! We are in almost complete agreement. The one thing I find different is that animals will always be preserved and cared for. They will not be saved because by doing so it will save the Earth and mother nature. No, but because humans like animals and they are very pleasing to witness. Hence, animals will be saved for their very essence.

Anyone that makes the claim that saving animals is to better the environment does not understand Earth's history. The Earth could live on with or without the cute animals. In fact it could do just fine without trees, oceans, and us.

I know, nature is cruel and unsympathetic, what a world.
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#117895 - 08/18/05 07:46 PM Re: Scientists: Transplant African species to Texas [Re: the_poison_elf]
Roho_the_Rooster Offline
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Quote:



Someone else readys Fark headlines, perhaps?







Poison Elf...I think that link is down. What was on it? It sounds interesting.
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#117896 - 08/18/05 09:36 PM FARKing good time [Re: Roho_the_Rooster]
Isabel23 Offline
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#117897 - 08/18/05 09:47 PM Re: FARKing good time [Re: Isabel23]
Roho_the_Rooster Offline
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Registered: 03/10/05
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Thank you.
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#117898 - 08/18/05 11:53 PM Re: FARKing good time [Re: Roho_the_Rooster]
the_poison_elf Offline


Registered: 10/08/04
Posts: 113
Loc: Auburn, Maine, USA
Hmm...odd, LttD seems to have eaten my link there. :P I hadn't noticed it before. Sorry about that, but I'm also not sure how I could have caused that myself. I certainly wasn't drunk at the time...

Long and short, this bit of news was covered a day or so ago in Fark's headlines, and the end of the tagline was something to the effect of "whatshisname will spare no expense". in other words, the exact same proposition as the Jurassic Park shebang.

I certainly wouldn't call this "preserving and ecosystem", but I do think that elephants/lions/whatnot are some species that should be preserved. It would sorta be like setting up a Platapus reservation; it serves no ecological purpose, but what kind of future is there if people can't see an aberration such as the Platapus live int he flesh?
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#117900 - 08/20/05 12:03 PM Re: Scientists: Transplant African species to Texas [Re: Jack_Lantern]
Insurgent Offline
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Registered: 08/08/01
Posts: 2312
Quote:

I think there is a reason these species are going extinct, and we are only part of it. The idea that we need to "preserve" the wildlife of our planet for the sake of it is ludicrous. Enviroments change, the earth will recover, it's called homeostasis. The people that want to shrink wrap the world and protect it from change are the same kind of people that want to shrink wrap people and save them from sin. Big mammals had there time. The only african wildlife I'd support saving is the great apes, because I like monkeys. The rest can follow the dinosaures for all I care.




Have 10 "Bad Ass Points" from the Bad Ass Bucket.

Environments do change but the problem is that stupid people are the ones doing that changing right now. Thankfully, you're not making the policies. Humans are a bigger part of it than you seem to think. Shrink wrapping the world may be the goal of some but keeping stupid people from entirely decimating the planet is the goal of others.

I don't think being an environmentalist means shrink wrapping. I don't think it means being unrealistic or even overly empathetic with wildlife (I have yet to decline a chunk of Deer meat). I think that along with being a Satanist comes a clearer idea of what real environmentalism means.

Give the average human being the power to destroy his environment entirely and completely and he will before the end of our lifetime. Give any species that. Have some perspective: We've caused extinctions in 1 generation with only pre-20th century technology at our disposal.

And the circle of life isn't bullshit. Ecology is important. I don't forsee any good in man having to sustain his own planet after he cripples it (no biodiversity = the first broken leg). The very need for "preservation" at this point is telling because if it ain't broke don't fucking fix it.

I'm thinking in terms of the welfare of human beings (gasp, shock, awe) first and foremost here. Spotted owls and four legged what-cha-fucks themselves don't concern me as much as what impact they may or may not have on human existence.

This, to me, doesn't include bringing Africa to Arkansas. It means shooting people that shoot elephants or dump toxic waste, because those people are potentially fucking us over (or at least our children). The shit in the original topic is just a tourist attraction made for the American economy.

With all due respect to self-interest and the "me first" approach to life I'm also a fan of Earth and in part a "fan of man!" and I don't like the idea of that which I see as beautiful being destroyed.

But, alas, its done. The people that spearhead environmentalism are just as bad as those that dump toxic waste into the water table. I don't see any realistic actions being taken in the near future. I'm just offering some perspective.
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My site: www.josiegallows.com

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"I am a fucking Satanist and desire in all of my being to be the Queen of the World if at all possible...."

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