Scientific American describes plans to "rewild" Europe by restoring the ecosystems of the Pleistocene and repopulating it with megafauna like lions. "Scientists should also consider reintroducing 11 additional megafauna species: the Asiatic lion, leopard, spotted hyena, dhole, horse, cattle, Asiatic wild ass, Asiatic elephant, hippopotamus, water buffalo and hairy rhinoceros." The article continues:
First, the predators such as lions must be brought back. The extinct spelaea subspecies of that great cat were widespread in Europe until the end of the last glacial period. The Asiatic lion is an obvious candidate to replace this missing feline predator; it actually flourished in the Balkans as far north as Hungary just a few thousand years ago but now lives only in a limited forest area in India thanks to overhunting. Other predators to consider are the leopard and spotted hyena, along with the dhole, also known as the Asiatic wild dog, all of which were widespread in Europe during the late Pleistocene and could be transplanted from Africa and Asia.
The images that come spring to mind from this article are, so help me, unavoidably comedic. But a more philsophical question arises: is this not tampering with nature? How different in principle is the project to "rewild" Europe from establishing a housing complex full of human predators and ex-convicts? Wouldn't that be rewilding of a sort? Since when did "nature" become anything but manmade, except perhaps, a manmade Pleistocene environment?
Admittedly lions are more beautiful than men with switchblades and tattoos, but how quickly we find that injunctions against "changing nature" have for their object precisely that.
Well maybe it has already begun. The AP says a man claims he has the Loch Ness Monster on video. "I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this jet black thing, about 45 feet long, moving fairly fast in the water," said Gordon Holmes, the 55-year-old a lab technician from Shipley, Yorkshire, who took the video Saturday. Nessie watcher and marine biologist Adrian Shine viewed the video and hoped to properly analyze it in the coming months."