Conservationist Plan Would Give Lions, Elephants a Home on the Range

Kate Wong in Scientific American:

000cb945a9351303a93583414b7f0000_1People hoping to glimpse lions, cheetahs, elephants and other megafauna in their natural environment must journey to Africa’s wildlife reserves. But if one group of ecologists and conservationists gets its way, safari-goers could soon head for the Great Plains of the U.S. instead.

In a report published today in the journal Nature, Josh Donlan of Cornell University and his colleagues propose replacing the large carnivores and herbivores that disappeared from North America 13,000 years ago, at the end of the Pleistocene epoch. Noting that humans likely had a part in these extinctions and that our subsequent activities have stunted the evolutionary potential of most remaining megafauna, the scientists say we have an ethical responsibility to address these problems. But rather than just managing extinction, they argue, conservation biology should aim to actively restore natural processes.

More here.