Do you know the concept of restocking with wildlife?
North America is not known for harboring giant mammals. However, some scientists want to populate the territory with African animals such as lions and elephants. It's all part of a movement that hopes to restore the earth in its glory days.
Although this plan may seem extreme, the movement has already worked on a much smaller scale. The idea of restocking with African animals belongs to graduate student Cornell Josh Donlan and 11 other members of the movement.
In 2005, Donland and his colleagues published a controversial article in the journal Nature, which calls for the creation of an Ecological Park in the United States, which would be a huge wildlife-filled nature reserve that most Americans only saw in zoos.
Creatures like camels, cheetahs, lions and elephants would live and hunt alongside deer, bears and humans. Wouldn't it be crazy? While this sounds like an impending disaster, scientists believe the park would not only help the economy (with tourist dollars) but also help the environment.
Of course, his plan was harshly criticized and never accepted, but surprisingly, this was not the first time the idea was suggested. In fact, scientists have been doing this kind of thing for some time, although on a much smaller scale.
Restore the wild world
The concept of restocking, called rewilding, was invented by environmentalist Dave Foreman. The general essence is to restore the creatures, where they were hunted to extinction. When animals like mammoths and giant camels disappeared from America thousands of years ago, the American ecosystem changed dramatically, not always for the better.
According to some studies, without mammoths nearby, the number of weeds has multiplied and without predators the pest population has exploded. In fact, scientists have predicted the fall of large American vertebrates in the near future, all because the ecosystem has changed so completely over the past millennia.
However, if the continent was repopulated with relatives of extinct creatures, some researchers believe the environment could be restored to its former, more harmonious form.
The Yellowstone Case
As evidence of the positive impact of this concept, scientists point to the Yellowstone wolves. Canines were annihilated in the 1920s, causing the number of deer to rise rapidly until 1995, when the wolves were reintroduced at the site. So things have changed dramatically.
The wolves kept the deer alert and actually altered their behavior. Thus, they avoid areas of the park where they could be caught, allowing trees and other plants to grow more effectively.
As a result, it attracted beavers whose dams built by them in the streams serve as homes for otters, ducks and fish. In addition, the wolves ate the coyotes, which increased the rabbit population and attracted hungry weasels and hawks. On top of that, eagles and bears now appear to feed on wolf carcasses left behind.
Amazingly, wolves also changed the physical geography of Yellowstone. All new trees (previously damaged by deer) actually stabilized river banks, causing less erosion.
Other restocking enthusiasts are also doing this with the flora and fauna in Europe. Scottish scientists are hoping to restore the forests of more than half of the country and bring back creatures like red squirrels and wild boars.
Obviously, there are a number of implications to consider. Many critics point to the disastrous results of the introduction of rabbits and frogs in Australia. However, pro-restocking scientists have an argument on the tip of their tongue.
They explain that neither rabbits nor frogs lived in that region before man introduced them. According to them, correct restocking is different because the species involved must either be native to the region or related to creatures that were typical of the locality. What do you think of the idea?