Big kitty in North America

LONDON (Reuters) - Scientists are proposing reintroducing large mammals such as elephants, lions, cheetahs and wild horses to North America to replace populations lost 13,000 years ago.

The scientists say that not only could large tracts of North America act as breeding sanctuaries for species of large wild animals under threat in Africa and Asia, but that such ecological history parks could be major tourist attractions.

“Africa and parts of Asia are now the only places where megafauna are relatively intact, and the loss of many of these species within this century seems likely,” the team, led by Josh Donlan from New York’s Cornell University, said.

“Given this risk of further extinction, re-wilding of North American sites carries global conservation implications,” the team wrote in Wednesday’s issue of the science journal Nature.

It said large mammals were common across all continents until the Late Pleistocene wipeout that hit North America hardest and handed the world to smaller species. The largest mammals in the United States today are bison.

The Pleistocene epoch lasted from about 1.65 million years ago to 10,000 years ago.

“Large carnivores and herbivores often play important roles in the maintenance of biodiversity, and thus many extinct mammals must have shaped the evolution of the species we know today,” the scientists wrote.

They said the pronghorn antelope’s remarkable turn of speed must be due at least in part to the presence of the now extinct predatory American cheetah alongside it on North America’s grasslands.

Reintroducing the modern relatives of the Late Pleistocene losers to North America could spark fresh interest in conservation, contribute to biodiversity and begin to put right some of the wrongs caused by human activities.

“Establishing Asian asses and Przewalski’s horse in North America might help prevent the extinction of these endangered species and would restore equid species to their evolutionary homeland,” the scientists wrote.

They proposed a second phase that would include reintroducing African cheetahs, lions and Asian and African elephants to large private parks.

"Free-roaming, managed cheetahs in the southwestern United States could save the fastest carnivore from extinction, restore what must have been strong interactions with pronghorn and facilitate ecotourism as an alternative for ranchers.

“Managed elephant populations could similarly benefit ranchers through grassland maintenance and ecotourism,” they wrote, adding that reintroducing lions would represent the pinnacle of the Pleistocene re-wilding of North America.

They admitted the plan would be controversial but said it was a far better option than simply accepting the terminal decline of some of the world’s most impressive species due to human encroachment and global warming.

“Pleistocene re-wilding is an optimistic alternative,” they wrote. “The obstacles are substantial and the risks are not trivial, but we can no longer accept a hands-off approach to wilderness preservation.”

I say why not, US has way too many deers, texas got the most exotic cats in the world, cut down on the over sea black market, they all have guns, create a lot of jobs. I say it’s perfect.


I cant beleive this, but history is actually coming in to use here :o :

Firstly, we have seen this all over the world, especially, it seems, in Australia. You cannot introduce foreign animals and hope that it will be all hunkydory. Some will get out and mess stuff up more. These cats they are talking about. Some are going to hurt people. Not that I honestly care about the idiots that die trying to pet the cheetas, but I really dont feel like hearing the all the complaining and crap from them.

Secondly, (again with the history) it’s a shame this will probably never even be looked at again. Don’t you all remember when “scientists” were thinking about building some kind of hotel in space for everyday bums to visit. Or how about when “scientists” said they were cloning that mammoth they found. And let’s not forget when “scientists” told us we were all going to be driving solar-powered cars in a few years.

Hear that kids? Don’t trust them! If a strange scientist offers you candy, or asks you to take a ride in their car, say no!


I think it is a fantastical idea that will never come to fruition. Even though there is a lot of open land in the American Plainlands. I read this article and it is an interesting concept. They would release the animals in a natural succession. I think it is a great ecological experiment but not feasable. Besides, there would be way to many complaints from big fat americans getting there SUV’s dinged up from asses and horses on the road. But boy, I would love to see it happen. I would be the first to sign up for working as an ecologist at the reserve.
[edit]there is already a big kitty in North America, Mountain Lion(way cooler and deadlier than a silly cheetah)[/edit]

Or it could be in whole due to the wolf, which has been its predator for a very long time, even to the present.

shbas, I did not wrote that, please keep the news and me separated.

Yes, America already have big cats like mountain lions and they should go along just fine with wolfs and bears. If there had been evidence that they were once here then what would be wrong to bring them back ? It’s people who are responsible for the loss of habitats it should be people responsibility to undo the damage they created, I say let them run around and in a few years when people get there act together and stop profiting off of nature, they can be reintroduce. I think cheetahs can be raise as pets.

But even more impotent this will bring liberals and conservatives together, liberals will have there environment and conservatives will have a good reason to keep guns.

Hey, at least they’re trying. While people like you are bitching about this kind of stuff being impossible they’re out there trying to prove that kind of shit wrong. And have, on more than one occasion.

Hey, at least they’re trying. While people like you are bitching about this kind of stuff being impossible they’re out there trying to prove that kind of shit wrong. And have, on more than one occasion.[/quote]