Could this be the Great Plains in 100 years? Artist Carl Buell provided this fanciful depiction of a rewilding scene.
Carl Buell for Cornell University/Nature
Josh Donlan relaxes on a recent trip to Buffalo Park in Flagstaff, Ariz.
Keiji Iwai Photography
If Cornell University researchers and their colleagues have their way, cheetahs, lions, elephants, camels and other large wild animals may soon roam parts of North America.
"If we only have 10 minutes to present this idea, people think we’re nuts," said Harry Greene, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Cornell. "But if people hear the one-hour version, they realize they haven’t thought about this as much as we have. Right now, we are investing all of our megafauna hopes on one continent -- Africa."
Greene and a number of other highly eminent ecologists and conservationists have authored a paper, published in the latest issue of Nature (Vol. 436, No. 7053), advocating the establishment of vast ecological history parks with large mammals, mostly from Africa, that are close relatives or counterparts to extinct Pleistocene-period animals that once roamed the Great Plains.
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