Chad Love: Bring Lions to America

Are you bored with deer? Elk season just can’t get your blood pumping any more? Are bears passe? Let’s face … Continued

Are you bored with deer? Elk season just can’t get your blood pumping any more? Are bears passe? Let’s face it, we’ve been chasing the same old North American big game animals for going on 12,000 years now. Frankly it’s getting a bit routine.

Which is why I’m all for this article in Slate magazine.

“Rewilding”—bringing elephants, cheetahs, and lions out of captivity to run free in parts of North America—could help save these megafauna from global extinction. More important, it would restore to the continent biological functions lost millenniums ago. The big guys would help stop the march of the pests and weeds—rats and dandelions—that will otherwise take over the landscape.

The potential upside of rewilding is tremendous: Not only would this put the safari experience well within the reach of thousands of American hunters (like me) who otherwise could never hope to afford an African safari, but the necessity of us buying all those new rifles would give the firearms industry an economic shot in the arm not seen since Bill Clinton’s administration.

And boy wouldn’t the presence of man-eating felines spice up quail season!
“Hey, Frank, go kick the birds out of that sandplum thicket.”
“Screw you, pal. Why don’t you go kick the birds out of the thicket, and I’ll cover you with the .375.”
“Hey Frank, where’d the dogs go? I don’t hear the beeper any more…”

Lions would be the ultimate in rewilding for North America. The predators likely once played an important ecological role here, as they do in the Serengeti. American lion populations would augment the endangered groups in Asia and Africa. And the tourism possibilities are evident to any safari lover. Rewilding could yield national ecological history parks, covering the parts of the Great Plains where the human population is shrinking and jobs are few. As in Africa, perimeter fencing would limit the movements of the big mammals, ensuring that they won’t eat anyone’s sheep or cows. Surrounding towns would benefit from the increased tourism, much as the towns surrounding parks like Yellowstone do.

I don’t know what this guy is smoking, but whatever it is I want some…