Saving the World’s Wildlife

We are facing a very urgent and pressing problem in the world right now, which is endangered species heading to extinction. However, the solution to the problem is ridiculously easy and effective. Simply relocate members of the endangered species to another part of the world where the habitat is similar and where there are fewer threats.

Right now, all that is being done for endangered species is putting them in captivity, relocating them to a nearby area, or trying to save them in their homeland by doing things like battling poachers. But why not relocate the animals to a different continent?

It is terrible that so many important animals are going extinct when they could be saved by taking the few individuals left and releasing them into a new paradise where they can survive and even thrive. Africa has wildlife and an environment very similar to Southeast Asia. Meanwhile, the wildlife of Southeast Asia, under the strain of a huge population which likes to eat everything, is severely threatened, while Africa, while still having massive problems, is more pristine. We should introduce animals such as tigers, rhinos, and orangutans to Africa. The Americas had all its large animals go extinct at the end of the last ice age, and as a result, the two continents have a vacancy in megafauna which Africa and southern Asia still has. And the Americas, oh, it has the most bountiful and biggest habitats on the planet. The Amazon rainforest is far bigger than any other rainforest, the Andes Mountains and the Rocky Mountains are some of the greatest mountain ranges, the American South is the breadbasket of the world, Canada has a vast temperate wilderness unmatched by any other on the planet, and the savannahs, plains, and steppes found in North and South America are more abundant than any other on Earth. Plus, the Americas has a very small population (considering it is made mostly of immigrants from three small countries, Portugal, England, and Spain, and that 90 percent of its indigenous population died out from disease) and are the most pristine continents on Earth. If we take animals from Africa, Asia, and Europe, animals that are endangered and threatened, and we let them loose in the Americas, they will swarm into massive populations and most of all, bring back the state of the environment that once used to be. The true solution to conservation and saving the environment has been lying right under our noses.

Now, filling the Americas with the wildlife of the Old World will probably be a radical change with indeterminate consequences. I therefore suggest we start with introducing Asian wildlife to Africa and smaller cases (like taking Orangutans to Indochina), and only the most urgent cases, such as the Amur leopard, Javan rhino, Saola, black rhino, will involve relocation to America or another radical place right away. The relocation plan will involve not only saving endangered species but also subspecies and even races. All genetic material must be saved.

If the animal is not urgently endangered, then it goes to a place where it can live permanently and does not harm the environment. But if an animal is on the brink of extinction, then, as an emergency measure, we introduce it anywhere it can live safely. If the introduced animal is harmful to the habitat, then, later on, we can control it, but at least it has been saved.

Here is a list of proposed introductions.                                 

Baiju river dolphin, if it is found alive by some miracle, goes to the Amazon River.

If it is possible for the saola anymore, if enough are captured, release them in the Amazon rainforest or other such place.

The very few Javan rhinos which are left in the world, carefully round them up and then release them to a tropical rainforest anywhere other than Southeast Asia (and Australia, where everything would be out to kill them). Central America is the best idea. The Amazon rainforest and Africa are also good. If the Javan rhinos are dumped in the Amazon rainforest, their numbers will balloon without anybody even being able to find them.

The Sumatran rhino goes to any tropical rainforests other than Southeast Asia. Seriously, in the 1980s and 90s, forty Sumatrans were taken into captivity across the world to save the species, but since rhinos don’t breed well in captivity, it was a total failure, and only three rhinos survived by 1997. Never did the thought enter their head to release the rhinos from their enclosure and into vast habitats in Africa, Northern Australia, Central America, Brazil, Florida, etc.

Amur leopards go to the vast spaces of North America. Patagonia is also a good place.

Ganges and Indus River Dolphin goes to the Nile, the Niger, and the Mississippi.

Kashmir stag goes to the Andes.

Saiga antelope goes to North America.

Iberian lynx go to the American South, Argentina, Chile, and places in Asia.

Prewalski’s horse goes to North America.      

The wisent goes to North America.

The Asiatic cheetah goes to the Southwestern United States. Over there exists the pronghorn antelope, which is the fastest land animal on Earth because of the American cheetah which went extinct 11,000 years ago.

Siamese crocodile goes to Madagascar and New Guinea.

Mekong giant catfish goes to the Ganges or the Congo River.

The black rhinoceros goes to Argentina, Australia, Mexico, Brazil, Central Asia, and the US Southwest.

Bactrian Camel goes to Mexico, Southwestern United States, Southern South America, Australia.

The Phillipine Eagle is very tricky. Its diet does not seem so specified, and being one of the few birds to eat monkeys, introducing it to other areas will probably threaten primates. However, the eagle’s population can be easily controlled, and because the giant bird is on the verge of extinction, as an emergency measure, introduce it into some Indonesian island or mainland Asia. Africa, New Zealand, and Madagascar may also be good.         

Arabian leopard goes to the Australian outback, Chile, Argentina, and the Great Basin Desert.

Persian leopard goes to South America, Australia, the American South, Mexico, and the American Southwest.

Orangutan conservation is yet another ridiculously easy problem. Just round up as many as you can and dump them in the vast rainforests of Mainland Asia, where orangutans used to live in prehistoric times. Africa is also a good place but probably not the best, as it does not provide sufficient habitat for strictly arboreal primates (as can be seen by the fact that Africa’s largest primates are all ground-dwelling: Chimpanzees, gorillas, baboons, mandrills, etc, whereas Asia’s largest primates, such as gibbons, orangutans, the proboscis monkey, etc, are arboreal). I suggest Sumatran orangutans go to live in India while the different subspecies of Bornean orangutans live in different places in Indochina.

It would be very radical and dangerous to introduce tropical tigers into the Americas. The people will not like it. So, for now, send tigers to live in Africa and Australia.

The white rhinoceros goes to savannahs, deserts, and plains in South America, Australia, North America, and Central Asia.

The gorilla is a little tricky. They must not be released into the Americas, as apes are an alien lifeform to those continents. What we should do is relocate gorillas to live in South Asia and Southeast Asia, where they will likely thrive. The different subspecies of gorillas can be sent to live in different parts of that continent, to prevent mixing. There are a lot of mountain rainforests in Asia in which the mountain gorilla can live and they can also go to live in the cold north in China. Gorillas can be also sent to live in Madagascar and New Guinea where similar animals once lived in recent times. Madagascar is an excellent idea.

The Galapagos giant tortoise goes to the Mascarene Islands, New Caledonia, and Madagascar.

North China leopard goes to the United States.

The snow leopard goes to the Andes Mountains and Rocky Mountains, preferably along with its prey like various goats and deer that inhabit the mountains of Asia.

And as for the diminishing panda population in China, well, all I will say is that I’d like to move it, move it! That large island and the Americas can be a new permanent home for the panda. They have a lot of bamboo.

Yes, just do all of this. No more life imprisonment and animals going extinct. It is possible to save endangered animals in this way privately. So, if major conservation organizations and governments do not catch on to the idea, I call on private individuals to do so. Many endangered animals are kept as pets, so they can easily do it. It is a start. I call on everybody, from Brad Pitt, Chloe Moretz, Will Smith, and Angelina Jolie to the common man living in Indonesia to do something on their own and in secret if necessary. Just collect some orangutans from those failing reserves in Indonesia, put them in a helicopter, and throw them into the treetops of Vietnam and Burma. Next time you go on vacation to relax in the Mascarene Islands, do something to make a big impact on the world by taking some giant tortoises with you. Release pandas in Columbia and Madagascar. Buy some tiger cubs and teach them to live in the wild in Australia or Africa. Francine Penny, you want to open a gorilla reserve in Hawaii? Why not release them from their prison in which they are kept for no rhyme or reason and let them live in the lush tropical rainforest with a ton of pineapples and breadfruit to eat (they, being so big, cannot become an invasive species)? I cannot believe nobody has done anything before.

While it may be easy to quickly persuade authorities to allow rewilding, before that happens or if it does not happen, doing it on your own may be illegal. They may say wildlife smuggling is going on or invasive species are being introduced. But, in Poland during the 1940s, it was a severe crime to hide Jews in your home, but those who broke the law are history’s most venerated heroes. And because extinction is permanent, those who save an animal from extinction with one small act will be celebrated and beloved for possibly tens of thousands of years. Just imagine if, during the early 1900s, somebody captured some thylacines while visiting Australia and let them loose in Argentina and Chile. Just imagine what people would be thinking of him or her today. But, nobody in history has ever had such foresight during critical times, such as now, to prevent huge tragedies.

Bartolome de las Casas, Leonardo Da Vinci, or Suleiman the Magnificant could have gone and collected a big bunch of Mayan codices and kept them somewhere safe. Same thing if somebody had the foresight to realize the Library of Alexandria might get into an accident and so collected some books from there. God, when the books would be discovered, those people would have been some of history’s greatest heroes. But no, it did not happen, it never happened in the history of humanity.

But it better happen now. If one is thrown into a Latin American jail and has to constantly dodge the bullets flying about in there, it is a miniscule price to pay for eternal glory and more importantly, to give a precious gift to humanity forever. But nobody has to pay any price at all. There are many people who have devoted their entire lives to conservation, and yet, they never once thought of this simple case. I understand relocation may be undesirable because a radical change is occurring and the animals may bother humans. But in a severe emergency, when the animal is going extinct, you still do not send them to a place of refuge halfway across the planet, or even send the orangutans to live in Indochina or the last Vietnamese rhino to live in Java? And if people have been releasing cane toads in Australia and beavers in Patagonia and have them totally wreck the environment, then why not introduce the last of the rhinos into the Amazon rainforest or the last of the Amur leopards into Canada, which will bring enormous benefits for both the animals and the environment into which they are sent?

In addition to saving species, relocating wildlife will change the environments of the world for the better, and will bring back megafauna to various regions where animals became extinct previously. We are, after all, living in a globalized and interconnected world. Here is a catalogue of animals that will be introduced into a certain region.

New Zealand: Ostrich, rhea, Emu, cassowary, Phillipine eagle, wedge tailed eagle, kori bustard, as many flightless and large birds in the world as possible.

Northern North America: Siberian tiger, Amur leopard, prezylsnki’s horse, wisent, saiga antelope, alpaca, guanaco, red deer, roe deer.

Southwestern United States and Mexico: Barbary lion, Asiatic lion, camel, Indian rhinoceros, dhole, nilgai, Barbary stag, the entire megafauna of Southern Africa.

Southern United States: Leopard, tiger, Indian rhinoceros, Asian elephant, nilgai, Iberian lynx, dhole, water buffalo, Barbary stag. 

Andes Mountains and Rocky mountains: snow leopard, markhor, yak, bharal, argali, Himalaya tahr, Himalayan wolf, Kashmir stag, chamois.

Rainforests of Central and South America: Congo elephant, hippo, Asian elephant, water buffalo, gaur, Javan rhinoceros, nilgai, Sumatran rhinoceros, leopard, tiger, clouded leopard, saola, okapi, banteng, bongo.

South American savannahs and plains: Indian rhinoceros, tiger, nilgai, the entire megafauna of the African Serengeti.

Australia: White rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, leopard, lion, tiger, hartebeest, pygmy hippo, wildebeest, African buffalo, bongo, ostrich, American bison, nilgai, komodo dragon, anaconda, water buffalo, Javan rhino, Indian rhino, Sumatran rhino, tapir, Bactrian camel, hartebeest, gerenuk, dibatag.

Europe and North Asia: Even though these areas had many animals go extinct and there is more abundant wildlife in North America, I recommend that no wildlife be imported from there to Europe. Europe has wildlife amiable to humans while the animals of North America are more dangerous. There is also the risk of pathological contamination, such as rabies, which are absent from Europe. Plus, the only animals that went extinct in Northern Eurasia were very large. North American wildlife cannot replace that. However, the success of the rhea introduction in Germany suggests that Europe could be a nice place for introducing lifeforms from the Southern Hemisphere (maybe even South Africa?). Also, it might be a good idea to export American animals to Siberia (which can help endangered species like the big cats there).

Madagascar: Pygmy hippopotamus, ostrich, cassowary, panda, bonobo, gorilla, baboon, anteater, pangolin, numbat, sloth, orangutan, gibbon, giant tortoise, dwarf crocodile, Siamese crocodile, Egyptian goose, cougar, African crowned eagle.

Very good environmental benefits can come from this. For example, introducing elephants to America will result in them knocking down trees and clearing out forests, such as in the vast Amazon rainforest. This will foster the growth of smaller plants which will result in an increase in animal life.

Large animals also benefit the environment by spreading their manure over a large area. The larger an animal is, the more it moves, resulting in nutrients being spread around. Hippos are an example of an animal with a significant environmental impact. Their dung creates deposits of organic matter along riverbanks which have an unclear environmental effect.

Plus, large carnivores control animal populations. Culling is required in North American national parks in order to control ungulate populations. The problem would be solved by introducing Amur leopards, Siberian tigers, Asiatic cheetahs, Barbary lions, snow leopards, Asiatic lions, and North China leopards. Yet, these big cats, adapted to a cold climate, are on the verge of extinction. If they go extinct, we will not be able to introduce them to North America. Therefore, we need to do it right now!

Another way relocating wildlife can help conservation is to save an endangered species by exporting wildlife to its area which the animal can live upon. For example, Amur tigers and leopards are severely endangered. If we introduce to their habitats animals such as bison, mountain goat, sitka deer, wisent, rheas, guanaco, Patagonian mara, beavers, capybaras, white stork, chamois (introduced to New Zealand already), marmots, saiga antelope, Iberian ibex, bighorn sheep, trumpeter swan, white tail deer, hares, red deer, and many others, the big cats could become more abundant.

Another example is the Californian condor. It is one of the biggest flying birds on Earth and used to feed on the dead bodies of mammoths, ground sloths, and other large animals. After all large animals in the Americas became extinct, the Californian condor became less abundant, was extirpated from most of its range, and became extinct in the wild in 1987, with 22 in captivity. After a painstaking breeding and reintroduction program, the condor has established itself in a few areas in the Southwestern United States.

Just imagine if large animals from Africa and Asia, such as the African elephant, the Asian elephant, the Black rhino, the White rhino, the Indian rhino, the hippo, the African buffalo, and the water buffalo were introduced to North America. The Californian condor would once again, after ten thousand years, become abundant all over Mexico and the Western and Southern United States.

Relocating wildlife can also benefit humans. Sometimes, an animal is a trouble to people, and removing it will be a great relief, such as tigers and elephants in Africa. Other times, introduced wildlife will help the people of the area. For example, bushmeat forms a major part of the economy of poor people in Africa, but it is endangering wildlife. I notice that while Africa is diverse in animals, they are only in the plains and savannahs. The vast rainforests of Africa are poor in wildlife. Large animals in drier parts of Africa include the 12 feet tall bush elephant, giraffes, black rhinos, white rhinos, African buffalo, and others. But in “jungle” Africa, there are very few large animals, just hippos and the 8 feet tall Congo elephant. There is also not much wildlife. This is not the case in the jungles of Asia. Large animals include the 10 feet tall Asian elephant, Indian rhinoceros, Javan rhinoceros, Sumatran rhinoceros, water buffalo, and gaur, while there is a tremendous diversity of fauna.

If we introduce babirusas, Asian elephants, Indian rhinoceroses, tapirs, water buffalo, gaurs, anoa, saolas, muntjacs, Phillipine Eagles, Mekong catfish, gibbons, giant barbs, giant salamanders, Proboscis monkeys, grey langurs, nilgais, and other tropical Asian animals to African rainforests, they will likely thrive and provide an abundant source of bushmeat. Although, the fact that Africa does not have great jungle biodiversity in the first place (and not because it went extinct recently) suggests that either the Asian animals will not do well or that they could harm the environment. In the latter case, at least they will be well controlled by hunting.

Another benefit of relocation is that wildlife in its native range can be freely hunted and killed because there is no risk of extinction and endangerment. For example, in the savannahs of Africa, poor Africans are forbidden from hunting the abundance of wildlife. These animals enrich their countries with ecotourism. If they were sent to inhabit the savannahs in Brazil and the plains of the Southwest, where they would expand into huge numbers, the poor people of South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana and Zimbabwe can eat wild animals all they want. Of course, ecotourism brings far more money to Africa than killing animals, so this is a bad example, but there are many other good examples. Plus, most of the money made in Africa is diverted away from the common people because of corruption. Recreating the African Serengeti in Brazil will make tourists go there instead of East Africa, where the governments would then have no more use for its wildlife and allow it to feed its people.

The potential relocation has for conservation is endless. One benefit is to introduce new genetic material into a population of animals to prevent a bottleneck. For example, in 2011, a subspecies of Javan rhino tragically went extinct when the last individual was killed in Vietnam, so that the only Javan rhinos left in the world are about forty to one hundred living in a single national park in Java, Ujung Kulon. Because the population is so small, there is a great danger that inbreeding will genetically weaken what is left of the Javan rhinos. But the problem would have been solved if the last Vietnamese Javan rhinos were relocated to Java before they went extinct. Since they were of a different subspecies than the population in Java, they would have introduced a flood of new genetic material by breeding with them. I find it totally unbelievable that the conservation community did not do anything to take the rhinos away from Vietnam where they obviously have no hope. It is too late now, but we should try this technique with other endangered animals. 

Another thing that can come out of relocation is the elimination of pathogens. If we introduce animals to new areas, we should carefully quarantine them so diseases and parasites do not follow them. For example, the tsetse fly, which sucks the blood of large animals, is a huge problem for the wildlife of Africa. If the large animals of that continent are introduced into the Americas, they will live a live free of the dreaded biting insect and many other diseases in Africa. This will not mean anything for African livestock, but I guess there will be more room for them when all the wildlife is out, benefiting African people. In fact, the removal of large, wild animals from Africa will result in the tsetse concentrating on domestic animals found close to humans, making its eradication easier. There is no longer any wild source for the pest.

The globalization and interconnectivity of the world has brought great damage, but I believe that if we act in a wise way, much good will come out of it. I believe it is the future of our planet that snow leopards will be hunting goats and ibexes under the shadow of the Inca ruins in Machu Picchu.

That tigers, leopards, lions, and cheetahs will be roaming the endless expanse of North America hunting its bountiful wildlife.

That the vast and magnificent wildlife of the African savannahs will live across the plains of Brazil and the United States, along with many animals from other parts of the world.

That the Californian condor will once again spread its huge wings over North America feeding on elephants, rhinos, hippos, giraffes, buffalo, camels, zebras, wildebeest, elands, hartebeest, gazelles, red deer, and antelopes, as will also Asiatic lions, hyenas, jackals, cheetahs, Barbary lions, and tigers.  

That forests across the Americas will be knocked down by large herbivores and replaced by park-like environments in which all kinds of wildlife thrives.

That the land of Steve Irwin will be home to many of the world’s iconic and endangered wildlife and the famed crocodiles of Northern Australia will be feeding on wildebeest.

And that Madagascar once again becomes a biodiversity hotspot of unique animals such as sloths, simians, ratites, pangolins, anteaters, and others.

The New World. Ever since Columbus made contact with it, it was the new destination for those of the old world who wanted a new and better life. Yet, those who got the privilege so far were mostly people from a few European countries, and more recently, smaller numbers of people from various parts of the world. But if we apply common sense, the two most bountiful continents on Earth will become the new, better, and permanent home for the diverse wildlife of the Old World which are facing the worst fate possible. One should also relocate wildlife to other parts of the world. The entire landmass of the Earth apart from Sub-Saharan Africa and tropical Asia has had its megafauna exterminated. We will not be able to entirely fix the world in this way, as most cold-adapted megafauna are not around anymore. During the Pleistocene, Siberia was a thriving habitat filled with grass, which sustained and were sustained by large animals such as woolly rhinos and mammoths. But after they went extinct, Siberia became a wasteland filled with mosses. We can partially solve the problem by introducing muskoxen, yaks, wisent, and bison, but nothing will replace the magnificent wildlife that once existed there. However, by making the right choices, we can fix the planet’s problems and have a sustainable future for humanity.

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