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skeeterses
Some ecologists published an article proposing to bring reintroduce cheetahs, lions, elephants, and wild horses to North America by setting up large ecological them parks in parts of the Midwest and Southwest.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/usa_wild_dc;_yl...HBhBHNlYwM5NjQ-
According to those ecologists, those animals occupied North America over 10,000 years ago and would have little trouble adjusting. This would be done to help protect those animals from becoming extinct. The theme parks would also attract tourists.

The majority of ecologists disagree with this idea which is why Congress isn't likely to consider it. Some politicians though will like it though.

My take on the issue is that it should not be seriously considered until the proponents come up with a thoroughly detailed plan on how they want this to be done. For instance, would there be any ecological means in America to prevent the overpopulation of one species at the expense of the deer population?

I might go for the idea of bringing cheetahs over to North America. They get along well with people and tend to hunt small game such as rats and mice. Large numbers of lions on the other hand consume well over 50 pounds of meat per day and could possibly wipe out the deer population. Unless Americans are willing to offer their cats and dogs as food, America should not consider setting up theme parks with lions.

Do you think that reintroducing animals to North America is a good idea?

If so, which animals would you consider allowing to occupy America?
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overlandsailor
QUOTE(skeeterses @ Aug 18 2005, 05:03 AM)
Some ecologists published an article proposing to bring reintroduce cheetahs, lions, elephants, and wild horses to North America by setting up large ecological them parks in parts of the Midwest and Southwest.


Well, since we are talking about theme parks here then I would assume they would at least be setup as a game preserve, if not a zoo. The effect on the population of other animals would be limited to what we allow into the park, or what we choose to feed them.

QUOTE
My take on the issue is that it should not be seriously considered until the proponents come up with a thoroughly detailed plan on how they want this to be done.  For instance, would there be any ecological means in America to prevent the overpopulation of one species at the expense of the deer population?


Forgetting for a moment that we are NOT talking about allowing "free range" Lions and the like, if they were to be allowed to roam free they would likely HELP with the deer population.

The absence of higher predators has lead to over population of deer all over America. This over population is bad for the deer because of the limited food available, which is also bad for other animals as it makes their food source scarce as well. It is bad for us in the form of increased traffic hazards and the like. Currently, we choose to control the population through regulated hunting. This works well, and also allows people an alternative method to feed their families which helps lower income people as well as those with concerns about chemical additives and the like in processed foods.

An interesting note. In my area there is a Town called, "Town and Country", Missouri (Dumb name I know whistling.gif ), they will not allow hunting of deer. As a result, each year this town has to pay 10s of thousands of dollars to relocate deer (which on more then one occasion they were relocated to areas that allow hunting rolleyes.gif ), because of the hazards created by over population of deer as well as the negative impact that over population has on the local ecology and the deer themselves. Rather then allow people to benefit from hunting and earn a small revenue stream from it they choose this method. wacko.gif

Taking all of this into account I doubt re-introducing a predator into the environment would have a negative impact on anything other then hunting. Though the risk to people would likely be too high to even consider "free-range" cheetahs and the like.

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I might go for the idea of bringing cheetahs over to North America.  They get along well with people and tend to hunt small game such as rats and mice.  Large numbers of lions on the other hand consume well over 50 pounds of meat per day and could possibly wipe out the deer population.  Unless Americans are willing to offer their cats and dogs as food, America should not consider setting up theme parks with lions.
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I do hope you do ever test that "get along with people" idea. cool.gif They are wild animals. Just as a wild dog is dangerous to humans so is a wild cheetah. Except you can't outrun the cheetah on a bike and it's claws could rip you wide open in one swipe.

Cheetahs eat 6 pounds of meat daily (on average). As for lions. I understand that they eat every 3-4 days and can eat up to 75 pounds in one meal. However, Deer weigh in at 40-90 pounds for fawns (depending on health, etc) on average, and adults weigh in 60-200 pounds (depending on age, health, etc) on average. So, two deer a week or less, per lion. It is unlikely to have a negative impact, and might even have a marginally positive impact on the deer population and the local ecology.

Do you think that reintroducing animals to North America is a good idea?

I see no problem with it in a controlled environment. We do this all the time with zoos. At least with more open range "theme parks" the animals have more freedom to live as they were born to.

If so, which animals would you consider allowing to occupy America?

Any of them, again in a controlled environment, that can adapt well to the climate. Zoos are not just tourist attractions, they are also an excellent tool used to education the people about animals they do not normally encounter. It is easier to get someone to care about an endangered species if they have seen them playing with their young in a zoo, then if they only have a picture on a brochure or a national geographic special as a reference.


DaffyGrl
Do you think that reintroducing animals to North America is a good idea?

Though I love animals and wildlife, I think this is a very bad idea. With few exceptions, introducing non-native animal and plant species to North America has proven to be destructive and sometimes disastrous (e.g., the nutria, feral hogs, Asian carp, kudzu, etc.). To me,”re”introducing is a misnomer. Cheetahs, lions and elephants are not native to North America. Their prehistoric ancestors died off in the Pleistocene era for a reason. Besides, saber-toothed tigers and wooly mammoths were a bit different than today’s lions and elephants. And Przewalski's horse was native to Mongolia, not North America. A smaller prehistoric horse did exist in North America (Pliohippus), but it has long been extinct. Not until Spanish explorers brought horses to North America did the equine population regenerate here.
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More than 40 percent of species on the U.S. Department of the Interior's endangered or threatened species lists are at risk primarily because of non-indigenous species--and a pricetag cannot be placed on their loss. Scientific American

To me, introducing big cats in a so-called controlled environment is foolish, irresponsible, and worse, extremely dangerous. Big cats are hard to contain, and just look at what we do to our own true native big cat, the cougar/mountain lion/puma when it wanders looking for prey, even when he's in his own habitat! It also gives the wrong message to some misguided folks out there; that having big cats in America is OK - hey, look, Siegfried and Roy do it! Too many wild animals have to be rescued from “well-meaning” individuals who thought that little tiger cub was soooo cute until he grew into an 800-lb predator. Besides, wild animals are not an “attraction”, they are living beings.

We have a local example of this kind of thing going on in California right now. There is a 7-foot long alligator swimming around an urban lake in Harbor City . It is speculated he was someone’s pet who grew too big, and got dumped in the lake. It’s actually kind of funny to watch a Colorado gator-catcher in California trying to round up a big reptile more likely to be found in Florida…kind of an only-in-America story. laugh.gif

If so, which animals would you consider allowing to occupy America?

I believe wild horses should stay, because, although they are not native to the US, they have been here for centuries and are an established part of our history (though, if the ranchers have their way, they’ll all be eradicated). I don’t believe big cats or elephants should be “imported”. There are already far too many wild animals held "captive" for humans' amusement.

The country has changed since the Pleistocene era…to put it mildly. thumbsup.gif
VDemosthenes
QUOTE(skeeterses @ Aug 18 2005, 06:03 AM)
Do you think that reintroducing animals to North America is a good idea?

If so, which animals would you consider allowing to occupy America?
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1.) I do not consider it to be a wholly bad idea, if I may turn the question slightly.


2.) I think that animals, of nearly any kind, have as much (and/or more) of a right to be here than we do. Long before humanity was a blip on the cosmic radar screen there have been animals of some kind. I say that, within reason, lands should be partially or fully returned to species' that had once lived there. While I do not like the idea of elephants or cheetahs I do not think it to be much of a problem to introduce wild horses and other nearly-harmless, non-vicious creatures.


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