Thursday, February 2, 2012

Bring in the elephants

David Bowman, professor of environmental change biology at the University of Tasmania, says that:
the giant African gamba grass, introduced as food for livestock in the 1930s, wreaks havoc on the landscape and provides dangerous fuel for wildfires across northern and central Australia.
“Australia has a deeply troubled ecology and current land management approaches are failing.”
His solution? Bring in elephants and rhinoceroses:
“I’m talking about using elephants as a machine or ecological tool to manage this grass,” he said in an interview for the Guardian, acknowledging that his proposal is radical and has major risks associated with it.
Possibly so. The introduced cane toads weren’t a great success unless you’re a cane toad, and some Aborigines might say that the introduced English and Irish weren’t a great success either, for much the same reason. On the other hand, Ricky Spencer, senior lecturer with the Native and Pest Animal unit at the University of Western Sydney, says that introducing elephants would pose significant problems:
If we did go down the road of introducing elephants to Australia, we had better develop the technology to clone sabre-tooth tigers to eventually control the elephants.
How cool would that be? 

Monitor: Tim Blair


Anonymous said...

Dinosaurs too?

Stephen Stratford said...

I reckon. If he thinks he can clone one extinct species, why not a whole bunch of them?