The American Lion/Elephant

I meant to blog about this story yesterday.

“DENVER, Colorado (AP) — If a group of prominent ecologists have their way, lions and elephants could someday be roaming the Great Plains of North America.

The idea of transplanting African wildlife to this continent 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.

But the proposal’s supporters say it could help save some species from extinction in Africa, where protection is spotty and habitats are vanishing. They say the relocated animals could also restore the biodiversity in North America to a condition closer to what it was before humans overran the landscape more than 10,000 years ago.

Most modern African species never lived on the American prairie, the scientists acknowledge. But some of their biological cousins like mastodons, camels and saber-toothed cats, roamed for more than 1 million years alongside antelope and herds of bison until Ice Age glaciers retreated and humans started arriving.

The rapid extinction of dozens of large mammal species in North America — perhaps due to a combination of climate change and overhunting — triggered a landslide of changes to the environmental landscape. Relocating large animals to vast ecological parks and private reserves would begin to repair the damage, proponents say, while offering new ecotourism opportunities to a withering region.”

Ok, call me crazy but the idea of importing lions is not something that I think of as being a smart idea. Lions eat people and I can guarantee that allowing them to roam free is an invitation for them to sample the wares.

Not to mention if you have ever spent any time watching Animal Planet, reading National Geographic or any number of other sources you know that there are huge challenges regarding elephants too.

How much space would they require? How much food is required to keep them happy and what do you do when you get an angry elephant or two closer to populated areas.

Now I am guessing that the scientists want to place them on some kind of wildlife preserve but there are multiple problems with that too. If this cold were not sucking the life out of me I’d list those problems here.

In closing, nice thought, but not something that I want to see happen.

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