Sep
07
2005

Populating the Great Plains of North America with Cheetahs?

In a paper published in the August 17 issue of Nature, Josh Donlon, a graduate student in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, at Cornell University, is proposing a program under which wild African animals such as lions, elephants and cheetahs could be introduced to the Great Plains of the United States, which includes part of Minnesota.

Cheetah: The Cheetah - coming to a prairie near you?
Cheetah: The Cheetah - coming to a prairie near you?

These animals would "replace" the large carnivores and herbivores that disappeared from North America during the Pleistocene era, about 13,000 years ago. During the Pleistocene many animals that we associate with other continents were present in North America. These include the now extinct American cheetah, feral horses, Bactrian camels, lions and Asian and African elephants.

Donlan argues that this plan, or "re-wilding", is an alternative conservation strategy for the twenty-first century, that serves not to just manage extinction, but to actively restore natural processes and to potentially reset the environmental balance.

A pilot study will test the re-wilding notion by releasing the endangered Bolson tortoise on a private ranch in New Mexico. The tortoise, which can weigh up to 100 pounds and once thrived in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Mexico, now only lives in a small area of northern Mexico.

This plan has a long way to go before it reaches any sort of public acceptance, but it sure sounds cool, don't you think?





Your rating: None Average: 4.2 (21 votes)








Your rating: None Average: 4.2 (21 votes)




Your rating: None Average: 3.9 (30 votes)

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

i need to know what kind of food do cheetahs eat.!

posted on Thu, 05/04/2006 - 11:50am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

what kind of food wuold the cheetahs eat if they were to live in minnesota?

posted on Mon, 04/03/2006 - 10:08am
Chris's picture
Chris says:

Introducing large predators into our ecosystem would cause damage here, potentially wiping out our native animals that have no natural defenses to these animals. Besides how do they propose that a lion or a cheetah survive a Minnesota winter without assistance?
Re-introductions of wild animals into their original habitats have been successful as in cases of Eastern bongo, Scimitar horned oryx in Africa and the Middle east and even the red wolf and black footed ferret to some extent in this country. The problem is that we are often destroying natural habitats so that even if breeding programs like the Species Survival Plans (SSP) in Zoos work and the animals are genetically stong enough to be released, they have nowhere to go back to. We need to fix why the animals are becoming endangered, not just pack them up and move them somewhere else.

posted on Wed, 09/07/2005 - 3:25pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

IM ALL FOR IT!!!

posted on Mon, 05/28/2007 - 9:32pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

i think it's a great idea i hope it goes into effect soon.

posted on Mon, 03/21/2011 - 2:45pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

ok how would you feel letting your kid walk to school and get eaten by a cheetah, or instead of having a car deer accident, have a car elephant accident. we are predators it is natural, have you heard of natural selection?

posted on Thu, 12/13/2007 - 9:53am
Derek's picture
Derek says:

a cheetah one wouldn't come near cities or towns because they are more likely to be hiding from us and two there is never been reports of a healthy cheetah attacking a person!

posted on Sun, 01/10/2010 - 6:15pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I respect your fear and understand anyone wanting to protect their children, but imagine how amazing it would be for yours and all children to visit a place like Yellowstone where the animals that once lived here are back again, to restore what man and time have taken.

posted on Thu, 03/24/2011 - 9:32pm
Anonymous 112112's picture
Anonymous 112112 says:

um yeah, cheetahs don't eat humans, they don't event attack them. the only way your kid would be attacked by a cheetah is if they asked for it. Plus it's not like they will be randomly walking in to town. The plan states that they will be manged, A awol elephant will be notice before a car accident. The point is to give the animals a chance while there native homes short out there shit,

posted on Fri, 10/05/2012 - 2:52pm
0000's picture
0000 says:

It's always about those dang children isn't it? Cheetahs are actually the most docile of all the big cats.

posted on Thu, 11/15/2012 - 3:05pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

if they were wild they prey mostly on Gazelles and other small animals but if u raise them theyd probably eat meat

posted on Fri, 08/29/2008 - 11:54am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

They eat unglates , it is a hoffed mammal. :)

posted on Tue, 10/07/2008 - 8:15pm
Ms. Laykasek's picture
Ms. Laykasek says:

They would not be able to deal with the cold winters there. They might be able to catch and eat deer. However, the cheetah is not adapted to run through trees! It would probably not make it. Sorry.

posted on Wed, 03/25/2009 - 12:12pm
Anonymous 112112's picture
Anonymous 112112 says:

um they would mostly range in the south west plains where the winter are not bad. plus with global warming, that range could greatly increase (though probably not not the northern Great lake states.

posted on Fri, 10/05/2012 - 2:56pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

they usually eat antelope but if brought here which i support they will be chasing the pronghorn once more

posted on Sun, 09/06/2009 - 8:52pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

The Prone Horn Antelope that are native to North America, would be the ideal meal for a Cheeta. Its a cousin to the Thompson's Gazel on the African Plains, which the cheeta evolved around each other for survial based on "speed."
I support the ideal of having Cheetas on the Great Plains, because their considred an endangred species.
Any thing helpful to prevent this magnificant animal from becomming extinct would be a blessing. My exception, introduce the Lions and Elephants here in the great state of Alaska instead of the cenral plains.

posted on Sat, 12/19/2009 - 8:43pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Cheetahs are large carnivorous predators and in Africa they would eat Gazelle, Antelope, Zebras and anything similar. They sometimes eat smaller prey as well.

posted on Wed, 09/29/2010 - 4:03am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

THE EAT PRONGHORNS

posted on Thu, 05/10/2012 - 11:44am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

I'm sorry to disagree, but no, this is NOT cool. I have no desire to become prey. People who live protected city lives divorced from nature (myself included) tend to forget that nature is brutal, violent, and utterly amoral -- not just a place where the old and the weak are killed and eaten, but where they are SUPPOSED to be killed and eaten. I'm sorry, but self-preservation comes first.

Besides, I thought invasive species were supposed to be a bad thing?

Make no mistake -- I am totally in favor of preserving endgangered species and protecting threatened habitats. And if that means putting some limits on human activity, so be it. But not at the cost of becoming cheetah lunch. While the extinctions happening today are senseless and preventable, the ones occurring 10,000 years ago were simply a matter of one species (H. sapiens) out-competing others. Perfectly natural.

This sounds very similar to the reintroduction of the cougar in Colorado, and just as fool-hardy.

George Orwell once said "There are some ideas so stupid, only an intellectual could believe them." Though he was referring to socialism, I think it applies in this case, too.

posted on Thu, 09/08/2005 - 2:46pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I just went to South Africa earlier this year & spent several days at a cheetah reserve. You should do some research on the cheetahs before you make comments about becoming their lunch. They are typically afraid of anything larger than they are and in african countries the farmers have actually started to use large dogs to protect their herds. The reason it works is that the dogs are larger than the cheetah & therefore the cheetah leave them alone.

posted on Tue, 10/16/2007 - 8:50pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

OTOH, a woman was recently mauled to death by a cheetah in a zoo. I am generally opposed on principle to increasing the number of things that can kill me.

posted on Wed, 10/17/2007 - 11:16am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

First: "...IN A ZOO"
Second: captive animal does not always equal wild animal
Third: who enters the cage of a large predator if they aren't authorized to do so?

posted on Sun, 06/08/2008 - 9:23am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

First: So? A cheetah ate a human being. Regardless of where this happens, it should give pause to those who have been claiming the big kitties are harmless.

Second: See above. Eaten is eaten.

Third: If cheetahs are reintroduced into North America, then we will all be living inside the cage.

posted on Sun, 06/08/2008 - 12:28pm
tigger 48's picture
tigger 48 says:

i don't where you got this bright idea about cheetahs eating people. The truth is they do not eat people and will never will the rather stay far away from us and the only the only way they will attack is unless there provoked or there sick there's only been one attack in the wild and thats cheetah was sick. and one more thing captivity is more dangorus toward us then in the wild.

posted on Sat, 07/19/2008 - 12:02am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

You are correct: "eaten" is too strong a word. I should have said bitten or attacked or mauled or even killed, but probably not eaten.

There, feel safer now?

posted on Mon, 07/28/2008 - 3:39pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Look at the articles again. The last cougar attack was in Big Bend about 20 years ago. The cougar was young and the person ran therefore triggering the chase reflex. Are you sure the "cougar" mentioned wasn't an older woman looking for "friends"?
Cougars and other wildlife don't like us and I can't blame them. They don't have much territory or prey left.

posted on Wed, 03/25/2009 - 12:32pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

I don't think you can attribute emotions and motivations to animals. An animal may attack because it is hungry or threatened, but not because it "doesn't like" somebody.

posted on Fri, 03/27/2009 - 1:28pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I totally agree with you 100% my daughter got mauled while at tycross zoo and that cheetah got put down i was so devastated. i also feel fot that women who got mauled i think there horrid animals and should be extinct. oxoxo

posted on Sat, 09/13/2008 - 2:30pm
*Marx*'s picture
*Marx* says:

Ok. I see around half of you guys have a terribly irrational understanding. Cheetahs are predators, but they do NOT naturally prey on humans. Sometimes sick or hungry individuals may do so, but this is extremely rare. Cheetah attacks in captivity occur the same reason as most wolf attacks do: HABITUATION. Cheetahs lose their fear of humans when we have a lot of contact with them! So if a woman got mauled at a zoo, maybe the cheetah was hungry and since it had close contact with the zookeepers, it got habituated and saw her as a possible food source. And if I may say, cougars are stronger than cheetahs anyway, since the cheetah is designed for speed, the nasal airways do not allow the teeth to be big, but they still are sharp.
So... think about your answers, Gene. And don't wish extinction for cheetahs. They are magnificent animals and God made them for a reason.

posted on Mon, 07/05/2010 - 3:57pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

I do not wish for the cheetah's extinction. I believe my previous posts have made that abundantly clear. In fact, I have argued that removing them from their natural habitat and putting them in an unfamiliar environment will actually hurt their chances for survival.

As for habituation – will cheetahs become more or less habituated to humans if we bring them to this country?

posted on Sat, 07/17/2010 - 1:59am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I AGREE bringing ANY wild animal out of its natural habitat could ruin chances of survival. However, there are some circumstances where animals must be taken in for rescue and protection from a poor habitat. we all love the zoo, but the animal's overall health is MOST important. They are meant to be wild let them stay that way

posted on Sat, 07/17/2010 - 10:22am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Cougars are now roaming suburban Dallas. Mixing human and wildlife habitats often ends badly -- sometimes for the humans; almost always for the wildlife. All the more reason to keep them separate.

posted on Mon, 12/10/2007 - 10:45am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I get that you generally fear being consumed by an animal, but as a human being the likely hood of being consumed by an animal is far less statically probable as per say being consumed by a member of your own species. How many times do you find your self in the direct path of bears or cougars in Yellowstone or the badlands of Colorado.

posted on Thu, 03/24/2011 - 9:37pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

this is a no

im not sure how much research these guys have done for this idea...but im almost positive they have no idea what kind of damage introducing animals into our habitate will do. yes, the animals will replace the carnavors from the Pleistocene era, but what will happen to them? they have no evidence they will adapt correctly...they have no idea what effect it will have on insect populations, and in turn have no clue what will happen to the food chain. I beilieve it was the timber wolf that was introduced to arizona that ended up hurting the state more than helping. and that is just one animal. this idea wont work...and if you think about it.....why arnt the animals here now? im sure our ancestors didnt walk around with cheetah pelts in the 16th century of america...so they were wiped out through other methods. "re" introcuding them will probably just end up in them dying anyway.

posted on Mon, 09/19/2005 - 5:35pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I agree that the Pliestocene re-wilding is a misdirected attempt to conserve these animals and that the focus should be on preserving the cheetahs current habitat and continuing with conservation in Africa. The modern great plains habitat has changed to much since the pliestocene 10000 years ago. However I also think many of you should do more research on these animals before making such harsh judgements on them. A cheetah is the least dangerous of the larger cats and has a frail build designed for speed. It is very unlikely to attack a person. the cougar which could possibly be reintroduced to minnesota is more dangerous but still much less dangerous than the domestic dog which kills more people in america that any wild animal. These are both amazing animals and to hear people say that they should be exterminated confirms my fears that there are many people with a mentality no different than settlers of the early 1900s who wanted exterminate every predator.

posted on Mon, 04/06/2009 - 8:58pm
(not necessary)'s picture
(not necessary) says:

How again, is this a good idea? Think of dangers, cost, and risk to the animals involved...the cons outway the Pros atleast 3 to 1 here.

posted on Sat, 10/08/2005 - 5:27pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

how fast are cheetahs

posted on Fri, 10/28/2005 - 9:32am
Joe's picture
Joe says:

A search of the web found varying results, and from them I would say that a cheetah can reach top speeds of 60 - 70 miles per hour. However, they can only maintain these speeds for 200 - 300 yards.

posted on Thu, 12/01/2005 - 10:48am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Cheetahs can run up to 70mph. Cool, isnt it?

posted on Wed, 01/11/2006 - 8:41am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

60 -70 MPH

posted on Wed, 11/14/2007 - 6:55pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

How does an african cheetah or elephant survive temperatures of 20 F to -23 F ? It sounds like the researchers who thought this one up were unaware of the climatic and geographical differences between the serenghti and the great plains.

posted on Wed, 11/30/2005 - 7:57pm
Joe's picture
Joe says:

The African cheetah, a close relative to the now extinct American cheetah, would be repopulated in the southwestern United States. The researchers reasoning behind focusing on this animal is that it is highly likely the remaining cheetahs in the wild will become extinct in the next century.

The researchers behind this theory freely admit in their paper that this re-wilding has a number of challenges. As they state at the conclusion of their paper,

We ask of those who find the objections compelling, are you content with the negative slant of current conservation philosophy? Will you settle for an American wilderness emptier than it was just 100 centuries ago? Will you risk the extinction of the world's megafauna should economic, political and climate change prove catastrophic for those populations remaining in Asia and Africa? The obstacles are substantial and the risks are not trivial, but we can no longer accept a hands-off approach to wilderness preservation. Instead, we want to reinvigorate wild places, as widely and rapidly as is prudently possible.

posted on Thu, 12/01/2005 - 10:43am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I've been to a zoo in NY that had cheetahs outside in winter- but they could go into the barn too. maybe they just get used to it? if that's all they've known?

posted on Wed, 01/11/2006 - 4:29pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Of course, this is a great idea. The human population has just past 6.5 billion. I believe it's time to thin the human herd. We have no right to take over the planet as we have. We need to live with nature, not destroy it just so we can feel safe and superior.

posted on Sat, 03/11/2006 - 8:20pm
Robert's picture
Robert says:

I think it would be a great idea to introduce wild animals into the plains. America needs to focus on ideas that can help assist in the global community. Protecting and conserving this planet should be everyones mission. Introducing animals to an area under utilized can help bring business, create employment opportunities, can create national partners, ecological cooperation, and help control the extinction of our wildlife. There are great ideas at float here and to pass up on this adventure would be a mistake.

posted on Mon, 03/20/2006 - 9:38am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

How would it be great? What your saying is that we capture the animals to bring business! Forget about business. Thats just like putting them in a zoo with other animals. It wouldn't help control the extinction of wildlife! It would make it worse!

posted on Mon, 04/17/2006 - 4:50pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Of course, this is a great idea. The human population has just past 6.5 billion. I believe it's time to thin the human herd. We have no right to take over the planet as we have. We need to live with nature, not destroy it just so we can feel safe and superior.

ok we will start with you... run infront of my car like the new cheetahs do when they first meet a major highway... there is no way animals from a undevloped country can survive in a devloped one for a few reasons....one: look a all the road kill you see on the roads now any thing placed would end up there. two: my guess would be a cheetah meeting a bearwould be a onesided fight so there goes a few more big cats we are trying to save. 3: from what i seen the cheetah is more tamer then alot of there cousins so i see more then a few kids finding the hard way about how much a kitty bite would hurt... i know there is alot more reasons not to do it for any animals but a big wildlife park with more secure borders then the united states might work but...heh... who are we kidding

posted on Tue, 06/13/2006 - 3:12am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

God forbid mankind help fix a problem that he has created. Instead of helping to restore nature we are so smart that we rather destroy it. If there is only one creature man should fear it is himself. It will be interesting to see when the time comes will mandkind bother to save himself, my guess is no.

posted on Sat, 02/03/2007 - 7:32pm
jenny's picture
jenny says:

I NEED TO KNOW WHAT CHEETAHS EAT!

posted on Tue, 04/03/2007 - 6:51am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

PRONGHORN AND DEER! :D
The American Cheetah most likely hunted pronghorns and that's why that species is the fastest herbivore (60mph!)

posted on Sun, 06/08/2008 - 9:20am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

cheetahs eat antelope and zebra . but if the were introduced to america they probably will eat deer . I like this idea very well

posted on Mon, 07/02/2007 - 4:35am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

lions and elephants are also on the list but they could really change the ecosystem. lions as you might know the hunt in packs and elephants live in herds . these animals should not be put out on the american great plains and southwest.

posted on Tue, 07/10/2007 - 4:07pm
STOREBOUGHT's picture
STOREBOUGHT says:

LIONS AND ELEPHANTS IN THE FORM OF MASTADOONS AND MAMMOTHS LIVED IN AMERICA UPTO ABOUT 10,000 YEARS AGO AND THEN WERE WIPED OUT BY OVERHUNTING BY NATIVE AMERICANS - ALL THESE SCIENTIST ARE PROPESING IS TO FIX A PROBLEM THAT WE CREATED.

posted on Sun, 03/16/2008 - 3:04pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Species go extinct all the time, out-competed by other species. Mammoths and mastodons are extinct -- there's no undoing that.

Elephants as we know them today did not, to my knowledge, ever live in North America.

North America is a much different place today than it was 10,000 years ago. Neither elephants nor mammoths and mastodons could survive here in the wild today. Notwithstanding the fact that there's not a lot of wild left.

Introducing foreign species into an ecosystem almost always spells disaster for native species.

posted on Sun, 03/16/2008 - 7:33pm
Victoria's picture
Victoria says:

I NEED TO KNOW HOW LONG CAN CHEETAHS LIVE

posted on Sun, 08/19/2007 - 7:51pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:
posted on Wed, 03/26/2008 - 1:31pm
Joe's picture
Joe says:

Whoa dude. Deep.

posted on Fri, 04/04/2008 - 10:31pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

No, man, like, think about it. How long can any of us live? Like, forever, but not at all, you know? So, like, nothing...

Oh, man, cheetahs...

posted on Sat, 04/05/2008 - 1:35pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

10 to 12 years in the wild 20 years in captivity

posted on Fri, 09/21/2007 - 4:02pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

How about putting some giant pandas in the park.

posted on Tue, 10/02/2007 - 5:35pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Giant pandas could not survive in North America. 99% of their diet is bamboo, which does not grow here.

posted on Wed, 10/03/2007 - 7:22pm
KelsiDayle's picture
KelsiDayle says:

On the contrary, several species of bamboo grow rampantly in the warmer zones of the United States. I never would have guessed until I saw it for myself while visiting a friend in Williamsburg, VA a few years ago. The Georgia Invasive Species Task Force has a little to say about the growing (sorry, couldn't help myself) problem here.

posted on Tue, 07/06/2010 - 11:19am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

I stand corrected. I should have said, doesn't grow here naturally / natively.

posted on Sat, 07/17/2010 - 2:00am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I ment put the giant pandas on the rewilding list for fun

posted on Tue, 10/02/2007 - 5:38pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

yeah that sounds cool and the red panda would make it even better.

posted on Tue, 10/02/2007 - 6:11pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

the red panda is not a bear but is sure is cute.

posted on Tue, 10/02/2007 - 6:14pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

All bear species should be in america sun bears, asiatic black bear, spectacled bear, sloth bear and the giant panda should be in the park. the red panda is in it;s own family no longer a member of the bear family it is in it;s own family now but should put in the rewilding park for fun.

posted on Tue, 10/02/2007 - 6:23pm
gariell's picture
gariell says:

wat kind of food do they eat not given enough information!!!!!!

posted on Wed, 10/03/2007 - 10:34am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

the cheetah is about the size of a wolf and runs like a fast mountain lion so maybe this animal might be ok, but lions and elephants i need convincing for that.

posted on Wed, 10/03/2007 - 1:02pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Are you talking about bears or the chheetah

posted on Wed, 10/03/2007 - 1:04pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

You are forgetting this little detail bamboo has been introduced in america like here in nj

posted on Thu, 10/04/2007 - 1:04pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

It is a non-native species (which I thought was supposed to be bad). It generally doesn't grow in the wild, and it certainly wouldn't do well on the Great Plains.

posted on Fri, 10/05/2007 - 9:10am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

You are just so negative, try to think possitive because the lions elephants and cheetahs sound cool. And the guy who mentioned the giant panda and red pandas sound awesome.

posted on Fri, 10/05/2007 - 2:02pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Sure, they sound cool. But do you really want to live in an environment where wild things could attack and eat you? I know I would prefer not, and I suspect rather large majorities would agree with me. And as awesome as pandas sound, they could not survive in this environment. That's not negative; that's just truth.

posted on Sat, 10/06/2007 - 10:44pm
Joe's picture
Joe says:

Would we be hunted? I am not sure we would be prey for cheetahs.

posted on Tue, 10/09/2007 - 8:38pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

You wanna find out? They are predators. We are meat. You do the math.

posted on Wed, 10/10/2007 - 7:53am
Joe's picture
Joe says:

I do want to find out. I may be in the minority here, but I say put cheetahs in the plains. I don't think they'll scope me as food, as I think there will be plenty of other food out there for them - especially if we introduce the wildebeest!

posted on Thu, 10/11/2007 - 9:35am
STOREBOUGH's picture
STOREBOUGH says:

YEAH WELL, AT LEAST THE PERSON BEING EATEN WILL DIE FOR A PURPOSE - INSTEAD OF BEING KILLED BY ANOTHER HUMAN BEING FOR GREED, OR A STUPID WAR OVER RACE OR RELIGION, OR WHAT GANG IS GOING TO CONTROL THE DRUG TRAFFICKING IN A CERTAIN AREA.
HUMANS KILLED BY WILD ANIMALS IS GENERALLY THE FAULT OF THE HUMANS - LIKE BULIDING IN SOME OF THE LAST REMAINING AREAS FOR THE ANIMALS TO LIVE

posted on Sun, 03/16/2008 - 3:09pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Dieing "for a purpose" or dieing senselessly -- either way you end up just as dead. I am opposed to increasing the number of things that can kill us.

If being killed by a wild animals is "the fault of the human," then how much more at fault would we be if we deliberately introduced these wild predators into our ecosystems?

posted on Sun, 03/16/2008 - 7:36pm
Visitor787's picture
Visitor787 says:

I have visited your site 347-times

posted on Sat, 10/13/2007 - 9:15am
Joe's picture
Joe says:

That's awesome - thanks!

posted on Sun, 10/14/2007 - 2:03pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Yeah i know this probably is bad but one thing with all these animals is that they can adapt. So why don't we drop the off in your neighborhood and set them free.

posted on Sun, 10/07/2007 - 6:11pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Your right all of these animals can adapt and probbaly would survive in america.

posted on Sun, 10/07/2007 - 7:37pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Joe you don't think you would be food.
Lets say your camping in the north woods and come across a wolf do you think it would just let you go and keep looking for another meal? Even if a deer came along at the same time, what do you think the wolf would go after the fast agile deer, or the slow clumsy human?

posted on Thu, 10/11/2007 - 2:24pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Wolves rarely attack people. Lions and cheetahs and tigers and such? Likely to be a different story.

posted on Sat, 10/13/2007 - 6:55am
KelsiDayle's picture
KelsiDayle says:

Why do you suppose lions, cheetahs, and tigers are less likely to attack people than wolves?

posted on Tue, 07/06/2010 - 11:22am
Joe's picture
Joe says:

You think I'm slow and clumsy? You must have seen me play soccer. I think if you decide to go camping in the north woods, a wolf or a bear attack is a small, but real, chance you just have to take.

posted on Sun, 10/14/2007 - 2:08pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

It seems kind of funny even arguing about this - it's not going to happen.

For those in favor: it wouldn't work. Even if it weren't for human development and expansion, North America is very different today than it was during the pleistocene, and the pressures of the changing environment probably had just as much to do with megafaunal extinction as did human hunters. The question posed by the researchers "will you settle for an American wilderness emptier than it was just a hundred centuries ago?" is, I don't know, embarassing. Yes. Yes I would, because that's the way things work. I mean, I'd love to see heards of sauropods roaming the American west too, but I'm afriad that we just have to settle for an American wilderness emptier than it was a million centuries ago. Josh Donlon is blowing smoke, whether he knows it or not.

For those arguing against: are you seriously concerned about cheetah attacks? Do people even get attacked by cheetahs? There are large predators in North America already you know, and it's not like children are getting carried away by bears and wolves at an alarming rate. And as for big cats, there was a link posted about the "foolhardy" reintroduction of cougars - that article was such talk radio nonsense. Proposing that environmentalists are advocating the reintroduction of some deadly animal simply because of its (what did he call it?) fuzzy bunny-ness? Yeah, cougars can be dangerous, but it isn't like we're reintroducing the prop department of Aliens into the rockies. Look: since 2000 there have been 3 fatal cougar attacks in North America, one of which was probably committed by a dog. The world is always going to be a pretty dangerous place and, at this point in history, it's ridiculous to act like the real threats to personal safety are coming from the natural world.

posted on Thu, 10/11/2007 - 7:27pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Of course, referring to an idea as being of "talk radio" quality is the highest compliment! ;-) Unfortunately, the argument that reintroducing cougars to Colorado was foolhardy comes not from talk radio, but from NPR science reporter David Baron, a far more suspect source.

posted on Sun, 11/25/2007 - 3:12pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Before we introduce new predators, we need to learn how to live with the predators we've got. (Note: "making noise" to scare away coyotes is bad advice. Coyotes don't fear noise. They fear buckshot.)

posted on Wed, 05/14/2008 - 4:58pm
Ben's picture
Ben says:

I think that the cheetah's would not be too interested in hunting people. Livestock might be a lot more of a problem. I know if they release Lions into the plains I would not be caught out in the wilderness unarmed.
I certaily advocate carrying a firearm in the woods while in bear, couger, or wolf territory. Not to mention the 2 legged creatures you might find in the woods cooking up meth or something.
Elephants are horribly destructive to the enviroment they live in. They knock trees over, cause large amounts of errosion, and while in rivers/lakes they kick up and enormous amount or silt that will go down stream and 'pollute' the water further.

Is it worth it to risk many native secies in our country to save those from another?

Then again, I would like to be able to hunt the "big 6" without having to go all the way to Africa... Alas, that is just too selfish a reason to sway my oppinion that this is a mostly bad idea.

posted on Fri, 10/12/2007 - 8:49am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Forget about wildebeest there are plenty of deer here in america for them to eat.

posted on Fri, 10/12/2007 - 4:59pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

How about we all come to this agreement take all the animals of the list except the cheetah because they aren't as destructive to nature like lions or elephants. And they are going to be extinct in 60 to 100 years from now.

posted on Fri, 10/12/2007 - 5:12pm
Trisha's picture
Trisha says:

i think the cheetas are pretty and they would totally hunt a person down if they were hungry enough

posted on Sat, 10/13/2007 - 1:30pm
Aidan's picture
Aidan says:

it think cheetahs should be brought to America,but kept in a none hunting zone.They
should also be kept in a private area.

posted on Sat, 10/13/2007 - 7:50pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Everyone listen up you are all arguing about this idea and i think your both. All of you share your thoughts but i personally think this should be a test and if it fails well atleast we tried.

posted on Sat, 10/13/2007 - 7:55pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Your right nothing has happend yet and we always argue over everything so maybe we should just do it know and get it over with. Besides animals both native and none native can adapt to eachother over time.

posted on Tue, 10/16/2007 - 2:02pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I agree nature has tought us that native and non native animals do adapt. Besides there are going to be 12 billion people by 2050 or less than 2050 so maybe this would be a interesting experiment sou i'm all for it.

posted on Tue, 10/16/2007 - 5:04pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Joe you are right the cheetah and these other animals are close relatives of the prehistoric ones so maybe these animals if introduced might bring back a prehistoric circle of life. I mean the whole predator and prey interaction.

posted on Tue, 10/16/2007 - 5:07pm
Tori.j's picture
Tori.j says:

i would love to see cheetahs living near us. but they would must likely died do to gas, trafic, and guns. over all i think that it is a bad idea.

posted on Wed, 10/17/2007 - 11:44am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

"re-wilding" is dumb

posted on Wed, 10/17/2007 - 6:23pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Geez could everone who hates this idea calm down because when you think about no animal on earth is native. Because the range of all these animals expanded and decreased.

posted on Thu, 10/18/2007 - 1:27pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Not true. All species evolved somewhere. If they still live where they originally evolved, they are called "endemic." The cheetah, if I'm not mistaken, is endemic to Africa.

Most animals are adapted to the environment in which they evolved. They cannot expand their ranges very much. (Human beings are the greatest exception to this rule.) I suspect that most animals -- most life forms -- are endemic to all or part of their current ranges.

posted on Fri, 10/19/2007 - 7:50am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Yeah i know animals are endemic to a sertain spot but throughout time animals like the cheetah have adapted to other enviorments that are similar to the ones that they live in.

posted on Fri, 10/19/2007 - 1:34pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

That is true. But it's very different from saying "no animal on Earth is native."

posted on Fri, 10/19/2007 - 3:43pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

If you are saying that animals like the cheetah are able to adapt then why do you hate this idea so much, because i find it a huge step in conserving species like the cheetah.

posted on Fri, 10/19/2007 - 7:32pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Wait a second didn't the cheetahs range go into north america back then? So why aren't we bringing it back. Like the reintroduction of wolves in yellowstone.

posted on Fri, 10/19/2007 - 7:34pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Because it's no longer the same place. Reintroduction refers to the practice of bringing animals back into areas from which they had been extirpated -- driven out by human activity, as wolves were from Yellowstone. Cheetahs, along with many other large mammals, went extinct in North America during the Ice Age. The continent that emerged from that climactic event was a completely different place. Bringing back these animals (or, more accurately, bringing back their distant descendants) would be going against nature in a big way.

posted on Sat, 10/20/2007 - 8:44am
STOREBOUGHT's picture
STOREBOUGHT says:

ACTUALLY - THE "PYHSICAL" LOCATION OF NORTH AMERICA IS PRETY MUCH THE SAME LONGITUDE AND LATITUDE AS IT WAS 10 TO 15 THOUSAND YEARS AGO, SO THE AREA HASN'T CHANGED THAT MUCH AS YOU WOULD BELIEVE - NOT LIKE WHEN SOMEONE MENTIONED BRINGING BACK THE DINOSAURS WHEN THE CONTINENTS WERE IN VERY MUCH DIFFERENT LOCATIONS ON THE SURFACE OF THE EARTH.
IF YOUR WORRIED ABOUT BRING IN NON-NATIVE SPECIES - THEN WE BETTER ALL PACK UP AND GO BACK TO AFRICA, AS WELL AS ALL OF THE OTHER PLANT AND ANIMAL SPECIES WE BROUGH OVER WITH US SUCH AS CATTLE, DOGS, PIGS, CATS, ROSES, TIMOTHY GRASS ETC...

posted on Sun, 03/16/2008 - 3:19pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

10 to 15 thousand years ago, much of North America was buried under glaciers. The environment has changed drastically.

Species move--this is natural. Homo sapiens is a species. There is nothing unnatural about the Paleo-Indians arriving here some 13,000 years ago (estimates vary), or Europeans arriving 516 years ago. Like every other species, they used the environment to their advantage. Unlike other species, we brought along plants and animals to help us. We may consider these part and parcel of our own diaspora. The animals proposed for introduction here would not be beneficial to us, and thus could not be so considered.

In the last 75 - 100 years, however, we have learned how important native ecosystems are, and what a deleterious effect introduced species have on those ecosystems. In other words, we now know better.

posted on Sun, 03/16/2008 - 7:52pm
Totyanna's picture
Totyanna says:

hey hey,
bring the chetaahs on lol lol i am so funny

posted on Sat, 10/20/2007 - 5:58pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Ok i get the picture but what about evolution. If these species were brought maybe new species of animals might evolve. And these animals will get used to seeing eachother if brought.

posted on Sat, 10/20/2007 - 6:39pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Evolution would take thousands, perhaps millions of years. There is no guarantee that the cheetahs will last that long -- nor that the native species they compete with and/or hunt will last, either.

posted on Mon, 10/22/2007 - 7:35am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Yo gene where do you live because i think you hate this idea because you live in the possible future park where these animals will be set free.

posted on Sun, 10/21/2007 - 6:52am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

As you can see on my profile page, I live in Lansing, Michigan -- several hundred miles from the Great Plains. I disapprove of this plan because:

it will hurt the cheetahs (uprooting them from their tropical African home and plopping them down in the middle of an unfamiliar, much colder North American continent)

it will hurt the natural ecosystem of North America (introducing a new predator which will compete with native species, and hunt prey species not familiar with it)

it poses a direct threat to human life

posted on Mon, 10/22/2007 - 7:33am
jimbob's picture
jimbob says:

i like birds, and cheetahs eat them, so i dont like cheetahs, because there bird eaters, you know what i mean

posted on Mon, 10/22/2007 - 10:31am
aye-aye_'s picture
aye-aye_ says:

It is not entirely true that the world of the N. American Pleistocene "cheetah" no longer exists. One critical part of the "lost" world of these felids is still with us: the pronghorn antelope. This creature has developed its amazing speed to avoid long-limbed high-speed pursuit hunters. These hunters, cheetah-like cats, died out (geologically) so recently that the pronghorn is still running from a predator that no longer exists. The pronghorn just doesn't know it yet.

Here are the cats that were believed to represent what we think of as the "cheetah" in North America:
Miracinonyx trumani and Miracinonyx inexpectatus
It would be more accurate to think of these as suped-up pumas than the cheetah (genus Acinonyx,) we know today. Miracinonyx trumani was the cat that is believed to have evolved to hunt pronghorns. It is an example of parallel evolution in this case.

Yours,
Aye-aye

posted on Mon, 10/22/2007 - 12:07pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Perhaps, but it has changed drastically enough that, for all intents and purposes, it's a different place. Plus, the species you mention that used to live here are now extinct. The African cheetah we know and love today never roamed North America.

posted on Mon, 10/22/2007 - 12:40pm
Aye-aye's picture
Aye-aye says:

I suppose that the only "real" way that the pronghorn is going to get its predator is for some puma -like cat to evolve the ability for open-ground pursuit.

...not in our lifetime though.

posted on Mon, 10/22/2007 - 1:02pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

What about the american lion wasn;t it a subspecies of lion. Oh and i mean the lion not the mountain lion

posted on Mon, 10/22/2007 - 2:54pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

We pose a more serious threat to all animals than these ones

posted on Tue, 10/23/2007 - 3:29pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Man Gene you just don't get it the reason why this park is so big is because the animals are big and they would have a limited range because of the climate here in america. Unlike africa or asia.

posted on Tue, 10/23/2007 - 3:42pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Here's what I get:

Predators kill people.

Cheetahs are not native to North America, and not adapted to living here.

A big park takes away a lot of land that could be put to other, saner uses.

posted on Thu, 10/25/2007 - 10:53am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

How can you say that the cheetah will eat you because they would be hundreds of miles away from you

posted on Sun, 10/28/2007 - 9:52am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

They may be hundreds of miles away from me personally, but they will be right next door to other human beings. I would prefer it if nobody were to become cheetah food, especially for such a hair-brained scheme as this.

posted on Sun, 10/28/2007 - 4:24pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

What about the elk migration in yellowstone they travel during the winter because of the predators and the food so what if 10,000 years ago they did the same thing to escape the jaws of the saber toothed cats lions cheetahs, etc. Then we would be bring back the predators they tried to escape a long time ago.

posted on Sun, 10/28/2007 - 10:05am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

We should put grizzly bears, wolves, and mountain lions in the park first and then bring cheetahs, lions, cheetahs, and camels.

posted on Sun, 10/28/2007 - 10:07am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Gene you should just leave everyone alone about this idea because all you talk about is getting eaten while everyone else talks about benefits and no advantages about this idea instead of talking about getting eaten.

posted on Sun, 10/28/2007 - 6:07pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

I have talked about several things: getting eaten; upsetting the ecosystem by introducing non-native species; removing large areas of land from other potential uses; and the likelihood that tropical cheetahs would very likely die a cruel death in temperate North America. Any one of these reasons is enough to flag this as an incredibly bad idea. All four together make me wonder why others continue to support it.

posted on Tue, 10/30/2007 - 7:51am
conor's picture
conor says:

Would you allow the bolson tortiose to come back to america gene?

posted on Mon, 10/29/2007 - 5:56pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

The Bolson Tortoise is already in North America. However, the animal last lived in what is now the SW United States some 10,000 years ago, but climate change reduced its range. It is now being bred in captivity on private land in New Mexico.

Comparing the tortoise to the cheetah reveals that the two situations have almost nothing in common:

The Bolson tortoise is native to North America, and once ranged into the SW US. The African cheetah never lived here.

The Bolson tortoise requires relatively little land. The cheetah requires enormous hunting grounds.

The Bolson tortoise is native to the deserts of NW Mexico; the deserts of SW US are extremely similar. The cheetah is native to the plains of Africa; the plains of North America are very different.

Thus, the Bolson tortoise would be very likely to survive in the US. The cheetah is not adapted to this climate, and could well die.

The Bolson tortoise poses no threat to human life or to livestock. The cheetah poses a tremendous threat to both.

Nevertheless, the Bolson tortoise would be a non-native species, and if environmental history teaches us anything, it is that introducing species into places they don't belong can have disastrous consequences.

So, even though the tortoise has a lot going for it as a transplant into the US, I would still have to say no. The cheetah has absolutely nothing going for it as a transplant, and a great deal against it. The "no" is subsequently louder and more insistent.

I support and applaud efforts to protect species by breeding them in zoos or in private land.

posted on Tue, 10/30/2007 - 8:25am
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

Gene, I agree with almost every point you've been making; I think the proposal is short-sighted and silly. Except...

"The cheetah poses a tremendous threat to both [human life and to livestock]."

You keep bringing that up, and I just don't buy it. As mentioned before, there are large predators in North America already, and none of them are a "tremendous threat" to human life - not wolves, not bears, not even cougars.

All I've read about it (not much, but still) suggests that cheetah attacks on humans are extremely rare. Everything says that cheetahs are never known to attack people in the wild, unless defending themselves. The only references to attacks - that I could find - involve situations where people walked into cheetah enclosures at zoos, or something similar. I'm not sure it's even worth arguing over. You've brought it up several times, though, so it could be that you've got a source with better information (again, my research is limited to what web searches will bring me).

I suppose that in North America there would be more overlap between human and cheetah habitats than in Africa, which could lead to more attacks, but I don't think even that changes the situation much. You don't hear about wolf packs hunting children up north, and, as scary as it is to read about cougar attacks, they're still awfully rare in northern California and the Rockies, where mountain lions have made a comeback. Plus, cougars and cheetahs are very different animals.

The threat posed to livestock, I think, is a little more relevant, but still not that big of a deal. As I understand it, cheetahs won't even attempt to attack large livestock (like cattle) because of their own small size. So maybe sheep farmers might have reason for concern, but even herding dogs can scare away cheetahs.

I think there are a lot of reasons why the idea wouldn't work and shouldn't be attempted, but fear of cheetah attack doesn't make the argument against any stronger.

posted on Tue, 10/30/2007 - 10:48am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Number of people killed or mauled by cheetahs on the Great Plains, pre-introduction: zero.

Number of people killed or mauled by cheetahs on the Great Plains, post-introduction: greater than zero.

Amount of livestock killed or mauled by cheetahs on the Great Plains, pre-introduction: zero.

Amount of livestock killed or mauled by cheetahs on the Great Plains, post-introduction: greater than zero.

Thus, it would appear that this activity will come at a cost, which will be disproportionately borne by a few specific individuals.

What are the benefits?

To the cheetah: less than zero. Vulnerable animals will be removed from their native habitat and relocated to an environment they are not adapted to.

To the environment: less than zero. The ecosystem will suffer from the introduction of a non-native species.

To people: less than zero. In addition to the dangers outlined above, large areas become unavailable for other, more useful purposes.

Do the math. It just doesn't add up.

posted on Wed, 10/31/2007 - 6:28am
KelsiDayle's picture
KelsiDayle says:

Ok. I can accept that logic. What are your thoughts on wolf and cougar reintroduction?

posted on Tue, 07/06/2010 - 11:29am
KelsiDayle's picture
KelsiDayle says:

Ok. I can accept that logic. What are your thoughts on wolf and cougar reintroduction?

posted on Tue, 07/06/2010 - 11:29am
STOREBOUGHT's picture
STOREBOUGHT says:

WOULD YOU BRING THE JAGUAR BACK - I ONCE READ THAT THE HISTORICAL RANGE WAS AS FAR NORTH AS PENNSYLVAINA - BUT WAS WIPED OUT UNTIL YOU CAN ONLY FIND IT IN MEXICO AND SOUTH AMERICA, WITH PERHAPS THE ODD SIGHTING IN NEW MEXICO, OR HOW ABOUT THE FLORIDA AND EASTERN COUGARS, WIPED OUT BY THE SETTLERS. WHY DON'T YOU ADVOCATE KILLING ALL OF THE HOUSE SPARROWS AND STARLINGS IN NORTH AMERICA - THE HOUSE SPARROW IS FROM THE OLD WORLD AND IS KILLING OFF OUR NATIVE BLUEBIRD AS WELL AS OUR NATIVE SPARROWS. STARLING AND PIDGEON HAVE FILLED IN THE ECOLOGICAL NICHE THAT WAS LEFT BEHIND WHEN SETTLERS KILLED OFF ALL OF THE PASSENGER PIGEONS. I BELEIVE ITS THE MONK PARAKEESTHAT ARE NOW LIVING IN NEW YORK CITY, TAKING THE PLACE OF THE CAROLINA PARAKEETS THAT WERE ALSO KILLED OFF BY THE EUROPEAN SETTLERS

posted on Sun, 03/16/2008 - 3:30pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Considering the damage they have done to my house, I would not be heartbroken if the house sparrow and starling were to disappear tomorrow. ;-) Alas, we cannot undo history. We can only avoid repeating its mistakes.

posted on Sun, 03/16/2008 - 7:55pm
Conor's picture
Conor says:

What about the ostrich or emu because they seem to fit pretty with the climate of texas or florida?

posted on Tue, 10/30/2007 - 10:25am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

OK, think about it this way: restoring North American ecosystems to their Ice Age conditions makes no sense because -- news flash -- THE ICE AGE IS OVER!

Really.

posted on Wed, 10/31/2007 - 6:33am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Yes we all know that but these lived in north america during the last ice age so really we would be bringing back extinct animals to north america

posted on Wed, 10/31/2007 - 1:03pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

You can't bring back extinct animals.

You can't bring back the Ice Age.

There is no earthly reason to want to, or to try.

posted on Wed, 10/31/2007 - 2:10pm
Conor's picture
Conor says:

Gene these animals would possibly reconstruct what america looked like 10,000 years ago. And possibly restore a prehistoric ecosystem.

posted on Wed, 10/31/2007 - 7:29pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

1) No, they wouldn't. Time only moves forward; you can't go back. Mammoths, mastodons, saber-tooth tigers, and even American cheetahs are all extinct. To say nothing of the vastly altered plant life.

2) This attempted "restoration" would come at the expense of the modern ecosystem, which has just as much -- if not greater -- "right" to exist.

2) Why on Earth would you want to go back 10,000 years? Conditions for humans were pretty awful. We were all hunter-gatherers -- farming had not yet been invented, let alone cities, let alone technology, let alone medicine. The total population was at best one-sixth of what it is today, and probably a lot less. And most of us died by age 40.

Nature -- a nice place to visit, but you sure as hell wouldn't want to live there.

posted on Thu, 11/01/2007 - 6:21am
Conor's picture
Conor says:

Yeah i know it was a cruel world to man but nature intended that to happen but apparently we broke that law and created cities and starting poluuting the earth so why don't we go back to the ice age and let nature take it's course

posted on Thu, 11/01/2007 - 1:07pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Let me try this again:

You. Can't. Go. Back. In. Time.

And while polluting is a bad thing, cities are about as "unnatural" as ant colonies or beehives.

posted on Thu, 11/01/2007 - 9:01pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

It seems to me that Gene had some horrifying camping experience as a child and he has suppressed it in his memory somewhere and it is surfacing as a deep hatred for cheetahs.

posted on Thu, 11/01/2007 - 4:18pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Uh-oh...someone has run out of factual or reasoned arguments, and is now resorting to wild accusations, as unfounded as they are irrelevant. Looks like I've won this debate.

Oh, and if I hated cheetahs, wouldn't I want them removed from Africa and brought here to die?

posted on Thu, 11/01/2007 - 8:59pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

We have a winner!
And the winner of the debate is......... er, the guy who declared himself the winner first. But anyone who can argue so determinedly with both his opponents and those who agree with him deserves some sort of award.

For the next debate, I think personal comments should be allowed. Because if we're willing to accept that a particular person isn't right all the time about everything, and that perhaps opposing points of view can both be valid, maybe it would be helpful to understand where each argument is coming from. Talking about these difficult issues might be good for us emotionally.

That's only if one person isn't right about everything all the time. Otherwise we should just listen to him or her for all the answers.

posted on Fri, 11/02/2007 - 3:04pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

When the opposing side runs out of arguments and is reduced to ad homnem attacks, what else are we to believe?

I don't recall arguing over points of agreement.

This is a science blog. Personal comments are not germane. I could be the nicest guy in the world; I could be the biggest jerk. (And I know which way you're thinking. ;-) Makes no difference. All that matters are the facts.

Personal attacks would do nothing to validate an argument, though they do cast the person making them in a poor light.

posted on Fri, 11/02/2007 - 3:46pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Gene You Didn't win any debate You Idiot! Wild amimals are more afraied of Humans then Humans are of them! When Are you going to get off your butt and out of that arm chair and really take a good look at wildlife
Cheetahs AVOID HUMANS AND HUMAN CITIES!!!

posted on Sat, 03/29/2008 - 8:20am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Please read the post above yours. The person I was debating with had ceased making factual arguments and resorted to personal insults. As have you. This sort of ad hominem attack is recognized as a sign that the speaker's argument has collapsed -- they have run out of relevant things to say, and must resort to invective.

Well, sticks and stones may break my bones, but cheetahs can really kill you. There's a reason zoos keep them in cages.

The proposal under discussion is to put cheetahs on the Great Plains, not in cities.

Every year, wild animals attack and kill a number of people. A small number, perhaps, but any number greater than zero is a tragedy. Introducing additional predators into a populated area will increase that number further. The fact that these predators are not native to this area, and that their introduction is an attempt to achieve the impossible, only make this idea worse, if such a thing were possible.

Case closed.

posted on Sat, 03/29/2008 - 12:32pm
Conor's picture
Conor says:

It seems to me that gene has a hatred for all wildlife and hates everything in the world but i do agree on this plan and also cheetahs are the best of them all behind wolves

posted on Thu, 11/01/2007 - 4:54pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Let's see...

I don't want to see cheetahs, a vulnerable species, removed from their native Africa and transplanted to North America, where they probably wouldn't survive.

I don't want to see a non-native species wreak havoc on the natural ecosystem.

I don't want to see people killed or maimed by an introduced predator.

I don't want to see livestock killed or maimed by an introduced predator.

I applaud and support efforts to protect and breed endangered species.

Yep, that's me, a real hater...

posted on Thu, 11/01/2007 - 8:57pm
Joe's picture
Joe says:

I would have to agree that I think the argument about people or livestock being in danger from re-wilding is weak, though I do agree that the fact is we don't know what effect introducing a non-native species to the North American ecosystem would be. Look how badly we've done already. We should step back and study what we have and what we're losing before we reintroduce any animals. Even animals who had evolutionary ancestors in North America.

But as I said in the original post, and as in evidence here, re-wilding has a long way to go before it is accepted, and probably further if it is ever implemented, but I think it is fun just to imagine cheetahs, camels, lions and elephants living here in North America. Is is a good idea? Is it possible? Is it the right thing for the environment? I don't know. Probably not. Is it fun to imagine? Yes.

I love this thread. If you are really interested in learning more about re-wilding, check out the Rewilding Institute web site. Or check out some stories about animals being reintroduced to ecosystems (though after they have been gone a relatively short time) such as the Mexican Grey Wolf or the Bolson Tortoise. Operation Migration is also a cool related story.

posted on Thu, 11/01/2007 - 9:44pm
Conor's picture
Conor says:

I think we humans should leave nature alone but i do like this idea very well so i am all for it.

posted on Fri, 11/02/2007 - 4:56am
Conor's picture
Conor says:

Gene here is the story if cheetahs are brought they might actualy help the enviorment and the interaction between them and the pronghorn. If the elaphant is brought it would replace what the mammoths did 10,000 years ago. The camel would eat non native plants in the southwest like arizona and new mexico. And the lion would probably eat the white tailed deer . Oh and um some of the species the lion and the cheetah eat have already been introduced to america.

posted on Fri, 11/02/2007 - 3:00pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

North America has gotten along pretty well without the mammoth for 10,000 years, evolving into a new pachyderm-free ecosystem. It is a different place now, and elephants, lions, cheetahs, etc. would upset the natural balance in ways we can't possibly predict.

As for camels, introducing one non-native species to combat another is almost always a recipe for ecological disaster. Just ask Australia about the cane toad.

posted on Fri, 11/02/2007 - 3:56pm
Caninesrule's picture
Caninesrule says:

Lets all support conservation of native species in their native spaces

posted on Fri, 11/02/2007 - 3:57pm
Conor's picture
Conor says:

I know camels are causing problems in australia and cane toads are big issue but the toads carry poision and the camels live in the desert regions of australia. But the camel family evolved in north america so we would bring back a extinct family member to america. Then destroying the ecosystem. Oh yeah gene i forgot what would you do if these animals were brought? And you are also outvoted in this debate more people agree to this than hate it.

posted on Fri, 11/02/2007 - 4:33pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

You may be bringing the camel family back, but not the North American camel. It is extinct. So, too, is the Paleolithic North American ecosystem.

(The modern camel is adapted to life in the desert, anyway. Wouldn't do well on the Great Plains.)

Dinosaurs evolved here, too. Shall we bring them back?

What would I do if re-wilding happened? I'd protest. I'd petition the government to undo this grievous ecological disaster. I'd join organizations that did the same. I'd support candidates who vowed to protect the ecosystem, and I'd oppose those who wanted to harm it. I'd participate in protest marches, wearing giant papier mache puppet figures, because, gosh darn, it just isn't a proper protest march without giant papier mache puppets. You know, the usual.

But fortunately, it will never come to that. The environmental movement, the US government, and the people of this country will recognize this hair-brained idea for the turkey that it is.

As for being "outvoted," we all know what Henry David Thoreau wrote in Civil Disobedience: "Any man more right than his neighbor constitutes a majority of one." This is especially true in a scientific context. Votes don't matter. Science is profoundly undemocratic. It deals in evidence. And I patiently await the first evidence to indicate this is anything but a terrible idea.

I'm not even sure that I am outvoted. Among commenters who sign their name, I see 4 yeses and 7 nos (possibly 8 -- I can't tell if Jimbob is kidding or not). Among the anonymous comments the nos are clearly in the lead, but many of them appear to be coming from the same person.

At best, we've got maybe a couple dozen people engaging in this debate. If it were ever put to a real vote, I have every confidence it would go down in flames.

posted on Sat, 11/03/2007 - 11:06pm
STOREBOUGHT's picture
STOREBOUGHT says:

ACTUALLY - THE CAMEL BROUGHT OVER WOULD BE THE NATIVE SPECIES - THEY EVOLEVED HERE AND MIGRATED TO SOUTH AMERICA BECOMING THE ALPACA AND LLAMA AND THEY ALSO MIGRATED TO ASIA WHERE THEY STILL ARE TODAY. SO TECHNICALLY, THEY ARE A NON-NATIVE SPECIES TO ASIA.
DURING THE LAST PART OF THE ICEAGE MANY ANIMALS MIGRATED BACK AND FORTH ACROSS THE LANDBRIDGE BETWEEN ASIA AND NORTH AMERICA - THANKFULLY, OR WE WOULDN'T HAVE HORSES ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD TODAY BECAUSE IF THEY DIDN'T MIGRATE TO ASIA THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN HUNTED TO EXTINCTION IN THE AMERICAS AND BEEN LOST TO US FOREVER.

posted on Sun, 03/16/2008 - 3:35pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Nope. The American camel went extinct a long time ago. Modern camels evolved in Africa and Asia, and are thus native to those places.

Yes, animals extend their ranges all the time, naturally. What we are debating is the unnatural, forced movement of animals into an environment they are ill-suited for.

posted on Sun, 03/16/2008 - 8:01pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

"History shows again and again
How nature points out the follies of man...
American cheetah!"

(with apologies to B.O.C. And speaking of aging '70s rockers, I'm still trying figure out how to work Brian Eno into this debate: "Species come and go / and forget to close the door / and leave their stains and cigarette butts trampled on the floor...".)

posted on Sat, 11/10/2007 - 8:38am
teia's picture
teia says:

nature is brutal, violent, and utterly amoral

As opposed to life in the city?

posted on Fri, 11/02/2007 - 5:26pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Yes. The vast majority of city dwellers respect each others' rights. Very, very few will kill you for food.

posted on Sat, 11/03/2007 - 11:08pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

Not to get any further into an argument that I could hardly care less about, but just walking around in the city at night is so so so so so so much more dangerous than walking around in almost any natural environment.

I mean, I spent two months living hundreds of miles from civilization in Alaskan bear country, and I guarantee that I was safer there every day than I am walking home from work every night. And I'm not particularly scared of walking home from work every night.

Very, very few city dwellers will kill you for food, but some will kill you for money, alcohol, iPods, or to make a point.

Statistically speaking, there's nothing larger than a bacteria that humans should be afraid of in nature

Except, you know, other humans.

And f'n cheetahs, apparently.

posted on Sun, 11/04/2007 - 1:24am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Western scientists visiting New Guinea will often make camp under date nut trees. (At least I think it's the date nut -- it could be some other species with a large fruit.) Natives never do. They know the fruits could fall, seriously hurting or even killing you. The odds of that happening on any given night? Maybe one in a thousand. But if you lived your whole life there, it would only take three years to rack up over a thousand nights. Suddenly, the odds don't seem so good.

Two months in bear country without incident? Congratulations. Now, let's try every day for 70 years. I suspect the violent mortality rate would soon approach that of the city.

There are lots of things out there that can kill you. Depending on the habitat, there are bears, big cats (pumas, mountain lions, cougars, etc.), alligators, poisonous snakes, wild hogs (yes -- quite dangerous), scorpions, pretty much any rabid mammal. I'm sure I'm missing quite a few.

The thing is, in nature most animals end up dying violently. If you lived in nature, there's a good chance you would, too. In the city, most people do not meet violent ends, or really see much violence at all.

If a human kills another human, be it for money, iPod, whatever, they are acting immorally. This very rarely happens. If an animal kills another animal, it is acting amorally. This happens millions of times each day.

And even if the only thing to worry about was bacteria, remember: there's billions of them, and only one of you. ;-)

posted on Sun, 11/04/2007 - 1:25pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Don Surber, columnist for the Charleston (WV) Daily Mail, has a great observation on his blog:

A friend once explained the difference between the United States and Canada as this: Americans view the outdoors as a place to play and have fun; Canadians respect it as a dangerous place that has things that can eat you.

posted on Sun, 11/25/2007 - 3:19pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

Canada has a lot more outdoors than the US, and, in particular, a lot more outdoors that are a long ways from indoors, and any influence indoors might have on them.

I don't know. I'm not saying that there are no dangerous things in the natural world, I'm just not sure that an adversarial attitude towards nature makes much sense anymore (at least in this country). When people in the US get killed by wild animals, it's usually because they wanted a picture of themselves next to a buffalo, not because they let their guard down on the way to get the mail. It would take a whole lot of "re-wilding" to change that at this point (at least that how it seems to me).

Cheetah attacks will never be among first world concerns. Literally and, um, metaphorically.

But I still think it's a dumb proposal.

posted on Sun, 11/25/2007 - 8:55pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

Of course, we're awfully close to Wisconsin, so you never know...

(C'mon, guys, I'm kidding.)

posted on Sun, 11/04/2007 - 3:44pm
Conor's picture
Conor says:

can an ostrich or emu live in america?

posted on Fri, 11/02/2007 - 5:47pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Depends on what you're asking. Is it physically possible? Sure -- there are plenty of private ostrich and emu farms. Could they survive on their own in the wild? Maybe, in some areas, but I rather doubt it. Should we allow them to run wild? Absolutely not.

posted on Sat, 11/03/2007 - 11:10pm
Jean's picture
Jean says:

Gene - this was simply a proposition written by a grad student, correct? It seems to me you are already cheetah-proofing your doors and windows and crying yourself to sleep every night over a paper someone wrote! Good thing you never found out about my paper titled "The benefits of lampray hatcheries in Lake Michigan"

posted on Fri, 11/02/2007 - 6:53pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Well, I did spend the weekend caulking the windows and weather-stripping the doors. I was mainly trying to keep out the drafts, but if they also keep out the cheetahs, so much the better! ;-)

Papers and books express ideas, and ideas have a way of inspiring people to take action -- in this case, a dreadfully misguided action. I'm not worried about the paper so much as I'm worried about the possibility that someone might take it seriously. From the comments on this blog, it appears we have a lot to worry about.

And as for the lamprey, thank you. You have proven my point. The introduction of the lamprey into the waters of the Great Lakes is one of the great, unmitigated natural disasters or all time. Native populations have been decimated. Some no longer sustain themselves. Fisheries have collapsed. All because of the introduction of one non-native species.

posted on Sat, 11/03/2007 - 11:17pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

Gene!
C'mon, man, you know the lamprey thing is sarcasm.

The introduction of the lamprey into the Great Lakes was a foolish accident, and anyone who would write "lamprey" and "Lake Michigan" in the same sentence has to know that. It's a different situation entirely - I don't think cheetah larvae will be sneaking into the great plains in bilge water.

I think "Jean" is making a point about blowing smoke. Getting worked up over an entirely academic (and silly) point.

posted on Sun, 11/04/2007 - 1:49am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

I suspected the lamprey may have been sarcasm, but given the absurdist nature of this thread, I could not be sure.

You are correct -- cheetahs will not be "sneaking" into the Great Plains. If they come, they will be deliberately introduced by people with full knowledge that such introductions are almost always ecological disasters.

Yes, this is an academic, and extremely silly, point. Yet the people who get worked up in favor of it do not get singled out for attention. Poor, poor pitiful me. ;-)

posted on Sun, 11/04/2007 - 1:11pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

I suppose.

posted on Sun, 11/04/2007 - 1:46pm
Jean's picture
Jean says:

It seems I have defeated myself. Well played kind sir.

posted on Sat, 11/03/2007 - 11:30pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

OMG i dont care !!!!!!!!!!

posted on Sun, 11/04/2007 - 3:06pm
Conor's picture
Conor says:

lets get back onto the subject of cheetahs in america please.

posted on Sun, 11/04/2007 - 8:21pm
Conor's picture
Conor says:

Gene what if the actual dinosaurs were still alive and were brought to america what would you do and what would happen to america and i mean the reptile dinosaurs not the crocs or the birds.

posted on Wed, 11/07/2007 - 7:38pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

My original reference to dinosaurs (addressed to you) was reductio ad absurdum -- taking your argument to its logical conclusion to show just how illogical it is.

Unless...unless your reference to dinosaurs was a sly dig at my taking Jean's absurdity seriously. In which case, well done!

Though the absurdity of the cheetah argument remains unanswered.

posted on Thu, 11/08/2007 - 10:46pm
conor's picture
conor says:

I was just saying that for a what if question. And did hear about that tiger project in south africa about the introduction of tigers in africa because i hear it's going great for training tigers to live in africa.

posted on Fri, 11/09/2007 - 2:51pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Why, this is a fabulous idea! Yes, let's take the 40-ton Tyrannosaurus and the 30-ton Triceratops; raise large, self-sustaining breeding populations; and let them wander free through populated regions of our country! Never mind that, when they last lived here, there were no Great Plains, there were no Rocky Mountains, and there were no harsh winters. I'm sure they'll adapt. And threats to life and property? Don't be absurd. They're part of nature -- they're harmless!

When absurdity and parody fail, all that's left is sarcasm.

posted on Sat, 11/10/2007 - 8:33am
Conor's picture
Conor says:

Gene would this project help the gray wolf ?

posted on Thu, 11/15/2007 - 4:56pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

This project would not apply to the gray wolf. The project under discussion proposes to take animals that are close relatives to those that are now extinct, and relocate them to an ecosystem that is a) different from the ones they are adapted to, and b) different from the ecosystem the extinct animals were adapted to.

The gray wolf is not extinct. It roamed much of the United States during historic times. Therefore, none of the above concerns apply.

posted on Fri, 11/16/2007 - 7:41am
Conor's picture
Conor says:

Wow i didn't say that i just said that would this protect the wolf and the other animals in this park. Oh and this park might be 50/50 with african and asian animals in texas oklahoma kansas and new mexico while the rest will be home to the animals that already live here.

posted on Fri, 11/16/2007 - 2:31pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

You asked:

[W]ould this project help the gray wolf?

I answered. I am no expert on the project -- and since it is so unbelievably dumb I have no intention of becoming one -- but as I understand it, it wants to introduce non-native species to replace extinct ones in a habitat that no longer exists. The gray wolf is a) not non-native; b) not extinct; and c) lives in a habitat that does exist. So I don't see how it would fall under this rubric.

There are far better ways of protecting the gray wolf than hair-brained, impossible schemes like this one.

posted on Fri, 11/16/2007 - 3:22pm
Conor's picture
Conor says:

Gene i was just saying that because the gray wolf and the grizzly bear have lost most of their range so this park would be able to protect them and make these animals come back.

posted on Sat, 11/17/2007 - 12:04pm
Conor's picture
Conor says:

Gene i hope you know that not all animals that are introduced are bad to the enviorment.

posted on Sat, 11/17/2007 - 12:06pm
Conor's picture
Conor says:

Gene 10,000 years is nothing in how old the earth is 4.8 billion years old so that means these animals were here in north america just yesterday when you compare the two ages of both the earth and the last ice age or glacial period.

posted on Sun, 11/18/2007 - 8:18am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Conor --

I was not aware that the gray wolf and grizzly bear were part of this plan. They, of course, are in a different category than the cheetah -- they are native species that were pushed out of part of their range by recent human activity. Returning them to their former range would be OK -- provided it is done safely, in a way that does not threaten human life or property.

Any introduction of a non-native species will change an ecosystem, and any change will hurt some species. Now, you can't stop change, but we can do all in our power to manage it carefully and responsibly.

It is true that 10,000 years is short in geologic time, but I'm talking about ecological time. The ecosystem -- the plants, animals, climate and terrain -- that existed before the last Ice Age has changed drastically, to the point where we have to say it is pretty much gone. Nature wiped it out. We can't bring it back.

posted on Mon, 11/19/2007 - 5:33pm
Jean's picture
Jean says:

What are your thoughts on reintroducing the bison into the great plains?

posted on Sun, 11/18/2007 - 4:32pm
Joe's picture
Joe says:

Jean, from what I could tell on line, the current wild American Bison population in the US is between 350,000 and 500,000 animals in the Great Plains region. So I am thinking what you are asking is what our thoughts are about that reintroduction? Well, not to speak for Gene, but I think he'd agree that this is a different idea that what I was talking about in the main post. The American Bison is a native animal to the great plains, was not extinct when it was reintroduced (though it was close) and given the time between near extinction and "reintroduction" was pretty short (when compared to the time period between now and when any kind of cheetah lived in the Great Plains) so the ecosystem was pretty much the same. So, that one seems to be all good, to me.

posted on Mon, 11/19/2007 - 7:58am
Conor's picture
Conor says:

all i'm saying is that the human wiped out these animals but those were people back then trying to survive. Today we just sit back and watch tv so maybe we should just let nature kill us. And these animals make a living we don't.

posted on Tue, 11/20/2007 - 8:12am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

One of the unfortunate consequences of the environmental movement -- really, of any ideology -- is that taken to an extreme it can lead to this sort of unhealthy, irrational self-loathing. Peace out.

posted on Tue, 11/20/2007 - 10:30pm
Conor's picture
Conor says:

Bull we humans have gone above what we were a couple thousand years ago but we are killing this planet and everything around it so bringing back a close relative to an extinct group that use to live here would preserve this planet and make it healthy.

posted on Fri, 11/23/2007 - 11:33am
Conor's picture
Conor says:

Gene haven't you relized that these animals are slow at reproduction like the elephant for instance has a 20 month pregnancy so it would take along time before we classify these animals as possibly hazardous to north america.

posted on Sat, 11/24/2007 - 8:29am
Conor's picture
Conor says:

Gene you live in michagan right i live in new jersey and these animals won't be able to kill us because of this climate in north america. And if the prefators like lions and cheetahs come they probabnly will eat deer and there is plenty of deer here in america.

posted on Sun, 12/02/2007 - 11:54am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

this sounds cool but will the cheetahs adapt to the surrounding environment? won't this hurt the economy? what about the other wild animals? will they respond to people? ??????

posted on Thu, 01/17/2008 - 9:10am
conor's picture
conor says:

possibly i mean they can adapt quite well if we let them to but it comes at a price. will americans let this happen? i sure hope the agree with because these animals are beutiful and there ancient relatives used to live here in america.

posted on Thu, 02/14/2008 - 1:40pm
Bill's picture
Bill says:

I think it would be unwise to import these exotic animals animals simply because it would be unhealthy for them and for the native wildlife. Could they adapt? Perhaps. I saw a couple of wild turkeys walking across my yard the other day, and deer are a common sight. There's also the occassional bear sighting. May not be too long before we have wolves running across the back yard. (Which is a success story in itself.)

There is also some concern that these animals may at times become violent. From what I understand, the number of attacks by wild turkeys has increased in recent years. And that's just a bird. Imagine if it were a big hairy carnivore!

On the other hand, I think we have much more to fear from each other than any wild animals. Having twice been savagely mauled by the American automobile, I may opt to take my chances with the cheetahs.

And on a totally serious level, I think we are in much more danger of mucking things up by trying to "fix" things that don't really need fixing at all. If the animals are happy and doing well where they are, let them be. If they aren't, then it's time to see what part of human interference is causing the problem and stop it and/or change what we are doing or how we do it.

posted on Mon, 04/28/2008 - 12:19pm
kyrieck's picture
kyrieck says:

is there a contract that asaia or north america or africa that they cant kll cheeatahs

posted on Sun, 07/06/2008 - 12:54pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Wild cheetahs live only in Africa.

Each individual nation sets its own policies with regards to wildlife. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources lists the cheetah as "vulnerable," which may in some countries trigger protections. Enforcement of environmental protections against poachers is a major and on-going problem in many countries.

posted on Mon, 07/07/2008 - 9:46am
Bill's picture
Bill says:

One thing to keep in mind is that the federal protection of endangered animals is really a fairly recent event. Even here in the good old U.S. of A. the Endangered Species Protection Act is only about 35 years old. Far too late to save many species, although some, like the wolf or bald eagle, have made remarkable rebounds, there are still many others that we could lose forever. And despite all the good it's done, it's under attack by some that want to weaken or abolish it altogether.

It's a nice idea to think that there should be some department within the U.N. charged with environmental and species protection concerns, but in the whole global scheme of things, it isn't considered that big of a deal. What would we do? Send troops to South America to keep people from clear cutting or burning the rain forest?

posted on Sat, 09/13/2008 - 6:37pm
Jospec5Star's picture
Jospec5Star says:

Cheetahs do fine in snow inside or out. There is a wild cat reserve in Northern California that houses cheetahs and it snows here every year. They do not have an indoor enclosure however it is covered. As far as this idea goes it would be highly unlikely they would ever be allowed to do anything like this. If you introduces predators you would need to introduce prey and I don't think that the great plains offers the correct types of plants and shrubs suitable for sustaining large amounts of prey. Not to mention the prey animals would be completely disoriented as many of them are migratory and they stick to a certain pattern.

posted on Wed, 09/17/2008 - 11:51pm
somebody's picture
somebody says:

I really love cheetahs. I'm a big fan of cheetahs!Cheetahs are smart animals and they are really fast runners.This cat can survive a lot of problems it has.

posted on Tue, 10/07/2008 - 8:12pm
niccolo's picture
niccolo says:

i would like to know what cheetahs do in the winter? can someone tell me please?

posted on Sun, 10/12/2008 - 10:01pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Pretty much the same thing they do in the summer. Cheetahs live in the tropics, where the temperature differences between winter and summer are less extreme than they are in the temperate zones. For instance, in Zimbabwe (close to the heart of cheetah country), average temperatures range from 81 in October to 66 in June. In the tropics, the seasons are not marked by hot vs. cold, but rather by rainy vs. dry.

posted on Wed, 10/15/2008 - 8:12am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

how do cheetahs protect them self from danger

posted on Sat, 10/25/2008 - 12:18am
conor's picture
conor says:

i'm back and i still support this idea yes it may seem crazy but really humans have messed up this planet enough and rewilding does sound crazy but as i said before the animals proposed in this idea r very close living relatives to the prehistoric ones

posted on Mon, 01/05/2009 - 9:15pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Also I happen to live in East Texas and I dont know where you the got the information that cougers are roaming the suburbs of Dallas but I find highly unlikely since there are very few confirmed sightings in east texas and they have all been in the most remote forested areas of the more eastern regions.

posted on Mon, 04/06/2009 - 9:04pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

The information came from the article at the link.

posted on Fri, 04/10/2009 - 5:46pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Here's an idea: before we start importing carnivores from other continents, let's learn how to deal with the one's that are already here.

posted on Fri, 06/19/2009 - 10:42am
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:

Here's another idea: let's genetically engineer bats large enough to carry off children and dogs.

And here's one more: let's donate money to my paypal account so that I can buy Saskatchewan. It's "buyjgordonsaskatchewan@aol.com"

These may not be as good as yours. But they're just ideas.

posted on Fri, 06/19/2009 - 10:52am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Can I borrow Moose Jaw for the weekend?

posted on Fri, 06/19/2009 - 8:22pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

And here's another example of nature, red in tooth and claw, wreaking havoc on foolish man and threatening to bring civilization to its knees!

posted on Fri, 06/19/2009 - 10:16pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Gene complains about bringing in animals that can kill us and worries about how they nay impact our saftey. The number one killer of humans is man. We kill each other more than all animals on this planet combined. So I say let the rewilding begin n

posted on Thu, 07/16/2009 - 6:42pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

I thought the number 1 killer was coronary failure.

Yes, humans kill thousands upon thousands of their fellow beings every year. So, that's justification to bring in something else that will also kill us? How does that work?

"Yes, officer, I was driving 10 miles over the limit. But that other guy was driving 20 over! You shouldn't be arresting me -- you should be encouraging me to drive only slightly recklessly!"

My primary concerns remain the damage this scheme would do to our ecosystem, and to the transplanted animals, though the damage to humans and property is not to be discounted.

Oh, and let me just add: "200!"

posted on Fri, 07/17/2009 - 11:39am
Beverly's picture
Beverly says:

I am absolutely 100% for introducing Cheetahs back into the wilds of the U. S. They did live here thousands of years ago. And they should live here again. Yellowstone would be a good trial area. My dream is to see Cheetahs in the Mississippi Delta, roaming the cotton fields and going about their daily lives. There is abundant wildlife here with deer roaming wild. But Thompsons Gazelles could be introduced along with the Cheetah. And Ibix and anything else they like to eat. I truly think it would work, but they would have to be Federally protected. Man is the Cheetah's worst enemy.

posted on Sun, 07/19/2009 - 7:20pm
Swede's picture
Swede says:

Hello from Sweden. I just want to talk about Genes arguments that this proposal is doomed. First the cheetah is not a tropical species. Its former range before humans pushed them back to Africa was as far as Russia. Cheetahs would do great in America so the climate is no problem for them.

Second Cheetahs does not EAT humans and has never done so. The cheetah is simply to weak and humans are simply to big. Cheetahs does not see humans as prey. In Sweden we have bears,wolfs, and European lynxes. Wich are bigger then American lynxes. The only harm they have ever done a human here is a scratch in self defense.

If everyone thinks like you do Gene then the problem with species getting extinct will only continue. We are now as i write this experiencing the fastest outdying of species since the last mass extinction event. We need to try radical ideas to save species.

We need all species. Including the carnivoures. We cant just go around killing everything that might give us a broken nail and we cant kill species just couse they can kill us. It would be another thing if we have a species that does its best to kill us and eat us as food and threaten our very existance. But there is no species like that and absolutley not cheetahs.

And why are you so sure that intruducing cheetahs would have a negative impact on the local wildlife? The fact is even if old world cheetahs are not the same species as the American cheetah they have very much the same function. I think that introducing cheetahs would have a good impact on American nature bioversity. Right now there are no real predator that controls deer or moose numbers exept for us humans. The forests and fields are getting hurt from overgrazing by feral pigs,goats etc...

I really dont understand your fear of getting eaten. I live with wild animals every day of my life. I have never been attacked by a big predator. And Gene the most of us live in cities or villages so why would we live in the forest for 70 years? Thats just unnatural for us. So the risk of getting killed by a human much greater then being killed by an animal. Besides you say things that isent true. Wild cheetahs does not only live in Africa. Have you forgotten about the Asian cheetah?

I dont really think you know what a cheetah is and thats why you are scared of it. You should get out in nature more so you can overcome you fobia for it. Lions and Elephants on the other hand is a whole different thing. They can and probably will kill people. But as i said before we need to think in a bigger picture. We cant afford losing more species.

Everything cant always be safe. Its dangerous to live couse you might die. Gene have you ever done anything a little bit dangerous in your life? It dosent sound like you have.

PS: Im from Sweden thats why my English might not be perfect.

posted on Mon, 11/09/2009 - 10:00pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

Thank you -- I was not aware of the Asian cheetah. There are fewer then 100 left in the wild, so I guess they are easy to overlook. The proposal, however, was to introduce African cheetahs into the American Plains, and the African cheetah is indeed a tropical species.

Cheetahs have killed people -- follow the links above. I admit, it is rare. But it is not unknown.

I have never advocated killing cheetahs. I strongly support efforts to protect the species. I strongly support efforts to protect all species. Which is why I oppose introducing cheetahs into an unnatural habitat, where they will either kill local species, or die themselves.

I am not aware of any instance when a species successfully introduced into a new habitat did not have a negative impact on the native species. Given the increased competition for limited resources, it seems a logical impossibility.

Just because we live in the city is no excuse for befouling the countryside. Yes, when you live in a city, the likelihood of being killed or injured by a wild animal drops dramatically. When you live in an area that actually has wild animals, however, it rises. And remember, I'm not just worried about cheetahs killing humans. They are predators. They will hunt and kill livestock and native wildlife. Rather than import a non-native species, we'd be better off reintroducing native carnivores. Or do a better job of wildlife management ourselves.

Yes, I avoid danger as much as is practicable. This is known as "common sense."

posted on Fri, 11/20/2009 - 4:20pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

i understand how you think Gene but as i said we need more radical ideas to save species. The last megafauna we have left in the world are in undeveloped countries with rapid growing populations and their governments havent got afford nor time to save animals. Thats why we industrial countries with more recousers and space must take action. After all it is our fault that Africa and many countries in Asia is as poor as they are. Becouse of our colonism and slavetrade. The African countries borders are drawn by Europeans that didnt have a clue of what kind people they included in a country. That is why there is so many civil wars in Africa. There are no natural borders like in Europe.

That is why i think giving the cheetah a sanctuary in America or Europe would give the species a much greater chanse of survival. And becouse a cheetah like animal called the american cheetah lived in america 10.000 years ago i dont think it would harm the native species. As i said before 10.000 years time is just a blink of an eye speaking in evolution. And the american species that exists today all chared there space with the american cheetah and they survived and they will survive again.

And as you said Gene some species go extinct thats natural. But whats happening today is far from natural. We are making species go extinct every day. This is the biggest mass dying of species since the dinosaurs went exinct 65 million years ago. And we need the animals for our own survival to. Who knows how many cures and medecines we lost just becouse we make the speceis go extinct before we find out about them?

If we can save a species by giving them a sanctuary in a country they didnt evolve. Why not?
Atleast we can give it a try.....

posted on Mon, 11/23/2009 - 1:37pm
Gene's picture
Gene says:

I am entirely in favor of saving endangered species. I just think we should do it in sane, rational ways. Zoos and carefully managed wildlife parks: good. Introducing non-native species into an ecosystem: bad.

10,000 years ago, North America was just coming out from an ice age. The climate, landscape and fauna were very, very different from what we have now.

The American cheetah went extinct around that same time. Perhaps it was adapted to a colder climate than we have now. The African cheetah certainly is adapted to a much warmer climate.

Much of the North American ice age fauna (woolly mammoths, saber-toothed cats, dire wolves, American camels) has also gone extinct. If we were to magically resurrect the American cheetah and set it loose in the wild, it would not recognize the land, the climate or the fauna. The African cheetah would be even more out-of-place.

I reject the notion that we are somehow responsible for poverty in Asia and Africa. Importing slaves to the US (which affected only Africa) ended over 200 years ago. Colonialism (which, with one or two exceptions, the US never much went for) ended in most places 40 to 60 years ago. In many poor countries, the big problems tend to be poor government policies, and/or outright corruption, which are internal issues. International trade and aid help support these countries. I agree, the borders drawn by Europeans have often been unhelpful.

posted on Fri, 11/27/2009 - 4:33pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

look people cheetahs never attack unless they are cornerd! so you won't get killed unless you bug them!

posted on Fri, 02/12/2010 - 11:26am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

america has strong preditors like the puma , wolf and bear that go after large preditors like those the cheetah and lion go after. and the puma is more fierce towards people than the cheetah is, so the cheetah would not be so bad. but introducing animals that are not used to a country can cause damage to the eco-system. and unlike the puma who dont willingly go to towns to attack people, lions can become man eaters.

posted on Mon, 04/19/2010 - 3:18pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Lets have a little sense in this discussion. They are talking about animals that originally evolved on land that is now America, and lived there for a very long time.

While some of the animals suggested could hurt a human the discussion is being hijacked by People who know nothing about what they are talking about.

Cheetah, gave up all their size in the Pursuit of becoming fast. Cheetah only exist in the largest national Parks in Africa because they cannot defend themselves. If interrupted by another animal they back off. In Africa they can and often are Pushed off their kills by jackals and even warthogs.

If humans walking in Africa surprise a cheetah it runs away, because any injury means that it cant hunt. While their may be good reasons not to reintroduce the cheetah to where it originally evolved, a fear of it attacking humans is not one of them. Have you ever heard of a man eating cheetah Problem?

posted on Sun, 07/04/2010 - 4:26pm
CULLEN's picture
CULLEN says:

THEY RUN REALLY FAST ALL THE TIME.

posted on Sun, 07/18/2010 - 10:11am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Let's rewild the African Safari with ecologists - let them live natively in a grass hut with no transportation and see how much they love those cats chasing after their children.

posted on Sun, 07/25/2010 - 8:17am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

I was just at the Indianapolis Zoo and saw their cheetah exhibit. They are beautiful animals. In one exhibit panel, a conservation scientist explained that one of the reasons the cheetah is threatened with extinction is because it has a habit of killing livestock. Farmers don't care for this, and thus go and kill the cheetahs. Another panel mentioned that a single male cheetah will roam over 800 square miles to get the resources it needs to survive. That's about 4 average-sized counties.

For these reasons, bringing a large number of cheetahs to America and dumping them in the middle of farm country seems to be a very poor idea.

posted on Sat, 07/31/2010 - 11:10pm
James's picture
James says:

I found this article and the comments after thinking about the possibility of introducing cheetahs into a country in which they've never existed - Australia. The reason?

Well, there are large tracts of uninhabited plains that are very similar climatically and geographically to cheetah habitats in Africa. Our problem is that we have a lot of prey animals, but not nearly enough predators to control their numbers.

Moreover, as a vulnerable species, it's introduction to Australian would provide another hedge against extinction.

I'd envisage a feasibility study, which if positive would be followed by a pilot study introducing a few breeding pairs into private reserves (there are ranches in Australia as big as Texas), which could be tagged and monitored. If that was successful they could be further introduced with a cap placed on their population by tagging each animal with a GPS tracker. They have low fertility, and are unlikely to experience a population explosion.

Risk to humans would be negligible (it's completely different from the potential maneaters), risk to livestock low, in fact the main risk would be to the cheetahs themselves...could you find enough suitable prey? Probably. There are huge kangaroo populations on the expanded (read: deforested) grasslands of Australia with no predators to keep them in check, and there are untold millions of rabbits, which easily outbreed predation by foxes (another pest) and eagles. Maybe even that scourge the Australian bush, the feral housecat, could become cheetah prey.

posted on Wed, 09/01/2010 - 1:27am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Might want to check your facts, the biggest ranch in Australia is about the size of israel, and NO WHERE NEAR THE SIZE OF TEXAS! Try Googling it if you don't believe me, but the biggest ranch in Australia is approx. 9000 square miles, Texas is appox. 267,000 square miles.

posted on Tue, 03/22/2011 - 5:05am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Anytime a foreign animal is introduced = bad news for ecosystem. Check out the asian beetle or eurasian milfoil and zebra mussels!!!! :(

posted on Wed, 10/13/2010 - 9:11am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I'm for cheetahs in the prairie as long as the cheetahs are closely monitored :) Cheetahs aren't exactly a top concern for attack (on human) in africa, so I wouldn't be concerned about them killing and eating a human since they're a creature more prone to running away. But if they aren't closely monitored then they could wander too close to farms and get into the same messes as they do in Africa.
I think it's a good way to teach them to hunt and survive on their own, but I also feel like the cheetah would need to be taught by human that things bigger than it are scary. If the cheetah coalitions (brother cheetahs form small sibling groups) or even a lone cheetah is going to be a scary sight to many wolves and bears. This might mean that an american raised cheetah will be over confident and incapable of returning to africa (A cheetah that's too confident around a lion = a dead cheetah)
I think it's worth trying since it'll start out small and cheetahs aren't exactly known to breed like wildfire (doesn't something like 45% of their young die from just being genetic failures? They also have a hard time reproducing to begin with...). As long as farmers are okay with it and are given ways to keep cheetahs off their land than I'm all for whatever professionals have planned, because I don't think cheetahs are going to last very long if they depend on africa alone..

posted on Wed, 10/13/2010 - 9:18pm
Conga's picture
Conga says:

The American Cheetah was most likely an offshoot from the Puma lineage all ready in NA, evolved to specialize in smaller faster prey, not a close relative or progenitor of modern day cheetahs. Mitochondrial DNA testing shows that they were closely related to our cougar and similarities are due to convergent evolution. Modern day cheetahs probably diverged from the Pumas in the Old World much earlier than our American Cheetah. So introducing cheetahs is not a matter of reintroducing them. Whether they could adapt to Pronghorns is also questionable and they are all ready hunted by man, cougars, wolves, coyotes, bobcats and even eagles.

posted on Mon, 11/15/2010 - 12:51pm
Tod's picture
Tod says:

Great concept. How can I help?

posted on Sat, 01/15/2011 - 2:01pm
hetz's picture
hetz says:

can you please tell me the citing local examples,the dangers associated with introducing new exotic species into an ecosystem where they did not exist before

posted on Sat, 02/19/2011 - 7:01am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I've studied cheetahs my whole life. The prey for cheetahs in the great plains would be the Pronghorn.

posted on Mon, 08/22/2011 - 7:58am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I think that cheetahs should live in the Great Plains,because the world need predators. we need them because if you go to Arizona or Montana you would a lot of feral horses who are dying of starvation. They are starving because theirs no predator to keep their population down.So whoever says no has to go to Montana or Arizona you will see some horses starving.

posted on Wed, 10/05/2011 - 4:58pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

As much as I like the idea of seeing cheetah's and lions in North America.....it's not a good idea. For several reasons diseases that are only native to African wildlife that African wildlife have become immune to but American animals that have no immunity to. Look at the possible damage to the environment. Also got to look at introducing potentially dangerous animals to the North American continent. How would the public react? Could the native animals adapt to predators that they have never even seen?

Reintroducing animals that are now native to Africa who have not been on the North American Continent for thousands to millions of years is a bad idea. Instead you need to reintroduce the predators that where around 100 or 200 years ago like Grizzly Bears, Jaguars and Wolfs. Reintroduce native animals not foreign ones.

posted on Thu, 10/13/2011 - 11:23pm
KelsiDayle's picture
KelsiDayle says:

Your "native disease argument" is interesting, Anonymous. Do you have any specifics to share with us?

I feel it has merit in theory, but I'm craving some hard core evidence.

posted on Mon, 10/17/2011 - 12:01pm
JoePe's picture
JoePe says:

You arent reading the article correctly. Not all of these animals will be in the great plains. The camel will browse the southwest and so will the lion. The cheetah will hunt pronghorn in the plains. It makes sense. By the way the united states had a number of elephant species not just the cold hardy mammoths. Some species are even closer to the Indian elephant than the African . Wolves cannot catch pronghorns, and the wild horse population is too high in the south.

posted on Tue, 12/27/2011 - 11:37pm
Butterfly777's picture
Butterfly777 says:

Of course we should re-introduce cheetahs to yellowstone. Just like the re-introduction of the wolf, it would improve the natural health of the environment. Humans stupidly hunt for the strong member of the herd (whoevered looks good mounted on their wall). Wolves and Cheetahs pick off the weak of the herd, improving the strength of the species.

I wouldn't worry about Cheetahs and the cold. The American Cheetah survived there just fine.

And for you that posted above who honestly think Cheetas are dangerous to humans ... that only happens in zoos. Even put a human behind bars for too long, and they go a little nuts.

Cheetahs in the wild do not attack humans. Wolves do! And THEY were re-introduced successfully! More power to'em.

Now it's the Cheetah's turn. Re-introduce the CHEETAH!

posted on Wed, 03/14/2012 - 12:38am
jj's picture
jj says:

NO WAY! Cheetahs are wild cats and definately dangerous to humans.

posted on Thu, 03/15/2012 - 2:38pm
Anonymous 112112's picture
Anonymous 112112 says:

I am a college student studying ecology and conservation and I think it is a relatively good plan if handled correctly. Its should be noted that no scientist would just get a few cheetah and release them to the wild, that something only truly misguided people would do. These cheetah would be closely mentored and tracked so the possibility of one wondering into suburbs is very very low. Plus people would be able to handle a cheetah if they come across one, there not like wolves, bears or mountain lions.( though it would not be very smart to run, though anyone who thinks they can outrun a cheetah deserves a Darwin awarded) As temperatures increase and weather patterns change, many species natural habitat will no longer be suitable, assisting them in finding a new habit is the least we can do since human caused this rapid increase in temp. Plus this plan is more like a Noah ark, allowing animals to live relativity freely while there home country's short out there issues.

posted on Fri, 10/05/2012 - 3:40pm
kelsey's picture
kelsey says:

I think we sould introduce them to the more southern states so theres less chance of dying in winter and they can feed on deer and whatever can't we give back for once we've put enough animals into extiction

posted on Mon, 02/18/2013 - 9:04am
james's picture
james says:

To all of you concerned don't be most of the areas they will be released will be watched so they don't wonder into human area and just remember our ancestors stole this land from them this was there home before it was ours and most animals in north America evolved alongside lions cheetahs and many of the large predators they want to introduce I'm all for it so long as they are protected from morons that want them dead just because they don't understand them.

posted on Wed, 02/20/2013 - 1:36am
Ryan's picture
Ryan says:

As long as experts monitor the population, I have no problem with the cheetahs being here. The only real issue would be African diseases spreading to native species, who would lack immunity.
Over all, I support the idea. I only have one condition: If possible, they HAVE to be king cheetahs. Those things are beautiful.

posted on Wed, 07/02/2014 - 9:14pm

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