Wednesday, August 17, 2005
The Stupidest Idea EVER
"Scientists" are - get this - urging the reintroduction of cheetahs, lions, camels, and elephants to the American Great Plains and Southwest.

It is so frigging crazy - I'm sputtering and spewing!

Why are they suggesting this? Ah, well, it seems that these areas are not population centers and could provide eco-tourism revenue to these economically "depressed" farming regions. Oh, and because these species are dying out in Africa. And the most hilariously stupid goal (and I mean that it is so stupid I started laughing crazily in a freaked-out sort of way when I read it) is to re-balance the predator-prey relationship in the Great Plains. Apparently, these people consider the rapidly spreading menace of dandelions, jackrabbits, ground hogs, and field mice, and wild flowers to be offensive.

The article calls the idea (I find that term extremely generous) "Pleistocene Park."

So now, for you, I will channel Jeff Goldblum's Dr. Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park:

You can't reintroduce wild animals into an environment and expect to be able to contain them. Nature selected against them! How the heck are you going to feed cheetahs and lions...and I assume you are planning a cage?

This cage, presumably, is elephant proof? I mean, I know elephants are vegetarian, but they have tremendous strength. They'll knock down a section of that fence or the cheetahs will find another way out. That's what they do. "Life finds a way." Jurassic Park was fiction, true enough, but I think it is the perfect metaphor for this idea. Cheetahs and lions are not going to be content to be fed. No matter how large an area is provided, you still run huge risks to the human populations in these areas. We all know that the cheetah is the fastest land animal on Earth. How the heck are we going to catch one if it escapes, huh?

The entire premise is absurd! First of all, it presupposes that these agrarian areas can easily make room for these new wild animals. What they fail to take into consideration is the fact that large portions of their chosen zone are grazing areas. This means that bison and cattle roam free, or some are more free than others. You see, in the United States we have "fence-in" states and "fence-out" states. This means that, in Kansas for example, a fence-in state, that you are required to keep your animals fenced in for the safety of society. Other states, however, are fence-out states. This means that animals are allowed to range free and if you want them off your property, you must needs build a fence, Bubba.

So what? Now the American Rancher and Farmer will have to fence out Charlotte the Hungry Cheetah to keep his children safe? And what about his livelihood? His herd amounts to a mighty appetizing treat for Charlotte and Lenny the Lion, almost like McDonald's on the Hoof. So you plan to endanger the lives of humans (thinking, advanced beings for the most part), as well as their chosen profession? This is your grand plan? Will you also choose to "introduce" foreign plants to the Great Plains so as to please the Elephant's palate? Will these new plants become the kudzu of this generation and be nearly impossible to kill?

You "scientists" may know lots about the extinction of species, but you don't appear to know diddly about animals. Animals, WILD animals, don't fit into your pretty little boxes. I realize that zoos, circuses, and Las Vegas shows would indicate that these sorts of wild animals can be domesticated and made safe and even make it look easy. But what about Roy Horn? They still don't know why that animal attacked. Animals escape from zoos all of the time too!

Is this the height of arrogance? Do you really think that these wild animals are going to be good neighbors to the farmers and ranchers of the Great Plains and Southwest? 'Cause I don't. For heaven's sake, even the dog and house cat, two animals which have undergone extreme amounts of domestication, revert back to the wild animal world if given the opportunity. House cats will hunt for sport! Dogs, if allowed to go feral, will form packs and hunt as a unit (think Velociraptor). And these are animals that have been selected and trained against this behavior. Do you still think it a good idea to loose really wild animals in areas where grade school children on a playground look like the buffet at a 5-star restaurant?

If you push this, I guarantee that you are going to have trouble with the farmers and ranchers. They are going to want Elephant guns, automatic rifles, and lots of ammo. And I just know you aren't going to be comfortable with that.

Moreover, we already have meat-eating predators in these areas. We have coyotes that cause trouble. We have mountain lions and cougars who come out of the mountains and cause trouble. We don't need to import any more trouble!

Consider the Great Plains and Southwest for just a moment. These are areas not known for their abundance of fresh running water. I'm from a farm that is located on the North fork of the North fork of the Cimarron. This is a fancy way of saying there's a ditch in our neighborhood that's been dry for at least all of my lifetime. In Pleistocene Park, you no doubt plan to feed these animals, but have you also given thought to water? These are animals that seek out and travel long distances looking for water. Six kids in a swimming pool 20 miles away is a short walk to a soup dinner!

I think you scientists, in your zeal to improve the great inequities that Mother Nature has dealt to some species, forget who these species are. Elephants can destroy buildings and cars, uproot trees and other things with no trouble. Elephants tend to follow paths and migrate along the same paths all the time, which could lead to compaction and water runoff issues on our fragile Great Plains soils. Cheetahs are too fast and too hungry to be contained by any fence. They are patient hunters who will adapt to the chewy taste of toddler in no time. Lions are lazier than cheetahs, but not by much. They too will adapt. The camel? How the heck would I know? All I am certain of is...this idea has the smell of a Roland Emmerich film!

Step away from the mary-jane boys, pull your heads out of your asses, and think about it!

No animal is more important than a human life. Not. A. Damn. One.

I know you mean well, but your half-baked grungy-granola plan is not just doomed to failure: it is doomed to end as a bloody footnote in the testing phase.

And your big marketing scheme - the notion that all this eco-tourism revenue could be made...BULLSHIT. Have you actually ever been to any of these places you are advocating becoming Pleistocene Park? Let me be the first to inform you...these places aren't known for their excitement. You aren't going to get people to come to Kansas to see animals they could see at Disney World's Animal Kingdom. Part of the draw of the San Diego Zoo is that it is in California. Trust me: Great Bend, KS is no San Diego! Not. Even. Close.

Did you "scientists" smoke your breakfast, or what? Just desperate to be published? This idea is a bloated corpse on the side of the road. Go get a job!
posted by Phoenix | 1:19 PM


At 11:20 AM, Blogger WitNit said...

I think it's a good idea. Too many childrean running around the midwest. Great for population control!

At 12:13 PM, Blogger Phoenix said...

You don't live in the Midwest, do you?


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