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!!! Has anyone heard of Pleistocene Rewilding?  RSS feed

 
master pollinator
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I was wondering if anyone had heard of projects underway all over the world that aim to reestablish the kind of faunal controls that existed in the Pleistocene that were able to keep a balance between forest and plains without human intervention.

Check it out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleistocene_Rewilding

I started with the idea that my ideal zone 4 would include managed pasture for bison, and it quickly took off from there.

Thoughts?

-CK

EDIT - When I posted this, I wasn't aware that conservation was a sub-forum of energy (or is it?) If there is a better place for this, I'd appreciate it if a steward could move it, or let me know how. Thanks.
EDIT mk2 - Thanks. I was wondering where this would go, and now I know.
 
pollinator
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I think there is a "Pleistocene Park" being established in Siberia. Also when you read Allan Savory and Holistic Management it's apparent that the absence of predators is the key problem with livestock on range...predators keep grazers bunched and moving, so their impact is intense, brief, and with long recovery periods. Apparently, recreating this behavior pattern can reverse desertification! Now, there's thinking being done around shock collars through GPS satellites such that an operator can make animals move through the landscape at a distance from a computer screen!
The megafauna have long been an interest of mine. Read "The Ghosts of Evolution" by Connie Barlow. You will never look at the landscape the same.
 
Chris Kott
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I'm familiar with it. I'm using the idea as a bit of a model for my long-term zone 4 range plan, suitably adapted with humans as top predator (I'm designing a food system, after all). As part of my bison plan, I want to eventually develop a large dog breed based on Great Pyrenees and including Tibetan Mastiffs and Newfoundland dogs as breeding stock, and selecting for a red-brown-fawn coloration, so that at a distance they look like calves. Great Pyrenees adopt the flock they guard as pack, though really stupid, defenseless pack, and have been bred to stay with their flock all the time, even throughout winter. All are big dogs (we're talking males over 200lbs in some cases). Imagine some predator coming looking for lunch and getting a mouthful of fangs in the ass for its trouble, if it didn't become lunch.

I would love to hear if other people have drawn similar (or wildly different!) ideas about Pleistocene Rewilding and its relation to Permaculture. I want bison. Mmmm...humpsteak.

-CK
 
Alder Burns
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Have you ever been around bison? I've known people who have and they are intense. The tale I most recall is one agitated bull tucking his head up to the side of a full-size pickup truck and flipping it upside down! I can't imagine anything less than a big pack of big dogs standing a chance of their own survival in any kind of enclosure with them...
 
Chris Kott
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Well to be honest, I was considering breeding up from domesticated stock, which would be the ones to benefit from guardian dogs (having lost some of their natural defensive skills). I mean, eventually they'll get closer to the wild real deal, but by that time, they should have their own pack of livestock guardians. I was also considering that if they were used to some handling, they could be run through a pinch-point, one at a time and caught between a wall and a giant mattress pad thing so their winter coat can be harvested before it falls off by itself, and so they would be a fibre animal as well. People actually do this, I'm not kidding. I don't intend to have completely wild stock of any kind, and I don't want to set out a predator buffet, and I don't want to live with them all the time with a gun to shoot the baddies, so I think my work-around will work.
Besides, I hear the males only attack cars during mating season.

-CK
 
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There has been a lot of discussion on the native american rewilding of the plains.

might want to try from a "de-fencing the plains" angle
 
Chris Kott
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The very nature of land used for pasturage on a zone 4/5 level suggests to me the use of large tracts of land adopted by permaculturally-minded people for exactly such a fenceless setup on a massive scale, even if the intent is a yearly culling. I want to eventually be part of a community that banks some of the animal protein portion of their food stores on a community-owned range (with the rules set by me, of course ). It seems logical to me, then, to choose species that have extensive histories of thriving even through times of dearth. Bison appear to be one such, with the tendency for herds to increase by as much as a third in good years entirely on their own. Wild turkeys would be a woodland or fringe candidate, as would range turkey (ostrich, anyone?). What's more permie than ensuring the forage is there, and then letting the animals at it all, to come by once a year to harvest? The animals are born on the range, live their lives there, and if they don't fall to "predation" (there might be some, but I still like my semi-tame herd and bison dog idea; much more likely the yearly cull would be the real predatory stand-in) beforetime, they breed and live until they die on the range, living as they would without people

-CK.
 
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Hi,

pleistocene park had a foundraiser to fly in bison from Alaska, and said it would be done by mid-june. But there is no update or news if they were introduced.

Anyone got any news of the project?

foundraiser
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/bison-to-save-the-world--2#/

facebook
https://www.facebook.com/PleistocenePark/


 
hans muster
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They are now importing Bison by truck, and have a GPS tracker! They just passed Antonovka, where the apple come from.
https://pleistocenepark.ru/tracker

The bison come from Denmark, as they could not import the Canadian ones through the USA due to legal stuff.

Looking forward to see the herd grow, and maybe cross with the wisent! Let's see if they can have a change as dramatic (in a positive way) as Savory!
 
Chris Kott
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I agree. I think male wisent have a competitive advantage over bison, as their horns are forward-pointing, whereas the bisons' point outward.

I know that something like 40 Bison bison athabascae from Wood Buffalo National Park, I think, were delivered around the first half of 2012, and they did quite well.

I have been thinking on matters, and I think that if/when I wanted to contribute to raising bison, I would see what First Nations initiatives are in place and on the ground, or look at the legal and legislative frameworks that lay groundwork for such projects, and connect with any tribe or group that actively wanted to pursue such an initiative.

People give me flack all the time for thinking of conservation issues as business opportunities, but honestly, how sustainable is any endeavour that doesn't generate enough cashflow to sustain its own operation, including taking care of the individuals and communities upon which its' survival depends? The fact that a minimum of 1 male to 20 females is required to maintain genetic diversity and overall numbers, even a more comfortable margin of error would yield a significant weight per harvest of high-quality, exclusively grass-fed, pasture-raised meat, not to mention all the by-products.

And the fact that supporting the growth of such a herd would become the chief (I just realised the pun, but I'm leaving it as written) employer and source of wealth for whole communities in the long-term, and source of morally and nutritionally superior CAFO meat-replacing bison in a time of catering to conscientious eaters would only drive growth and stability.

I also wish to see Asian Mammophants roam the newly thawed near-arctic steppe, not necessarily for anything more than airship-born neo-eco-tourism, but if populations thrived, and I mean exploded at a rate dangerous to the food supply, that hunting would naturally follow, unless we engineered a Flat-Faced Grolar Bear as an apex predator.

And I would love to see a reintroduction of beaver into the extremely fire-prone boreal forest, and perhaps a recreation of fire-regenerated ecosystems with lower fuel loads and faster regeneration for areas near to where we want to live, more like a savannah, in areas unsuitable for increased  beaver ponding and the associated polyculturalisation.

We're just talking about securing and reintroducing keystone species or analogues for extinct or unsuitable ones to shore up the environment's systems of checks and balances.

-CK
 
hans muster
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The herd of canadian wood bison introduced to Yakutia in 2006 grew to 170 individuals in 2018, starting from 60 individuals 12 years before according to link 1)
The Zimovs also wanted some of these for the Pleistocene Park, but as it was from the state it got complicated. Maybe the can get a few males in a few years to avoid inbreeding? Males are not so limiting in a bison population.

The danish bison on the road to Pleistocene Park in Siberia are now in Sim, Russia.

Chris, do you know that they introduced canadian beaver to Russia and some parts of Scandinavia, and that they do not crossbreed with the european beaver?

1) https://allaboutbison.com/bison-world-news/europe/russia/ bottom of page


Edit: if a speaker of russian language could find more about it, it would be great! Searching is difficult, but when it is found online translation work quite well (more or less).

Edit2: here a video in english about the wood bison in Yakutia https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfOF1LDuNKk 10 minute documentary, very interesting! Explains why the Canadian government gave some bison to Yakutia, and how it helps conserve the species.
 
hans muster
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According to the tracker, the twelve bison on the way from Denmark to the Pleistocene Park in Siberia are now in Novosibirsk, almos half way.
https://pleistocenepark.ru/tracker

If I understood well, they drive by truck till Seymchan, from where they will continue by boat.
Below the map of the road ahead. On the tracker above you see the starting and ending point when you zoom out.
https://www.openstreetmap.org/directions?engine=fossgis_osrm_car&route=55.0282%2C82.9235%3B62.9318%2C152.3933#map=3/57.85/117.69

Hope everything works out fine, they are a bit scarce with information, which is no wonder after driving for hours and hours on roads which may not be in the best conditions I guess.

 
hans muster
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The 12 bison moved today from Novosibirsk to Krasnojarsk, which is, according to openstreetmap.org an 11 hour drive by car, and they drive a truck.
Yay!

101 (yes, one houndred and one) more hours to drive till Seymchan, where the boat is waiting to bring them to the Pleistocene Park. How will the roads be, can they drive as fast as till here?
https://www.openstreetmap.org/directions?engine=fossgis_osrm_car&route=62.932%2C152.393%3B56.009%2C92.873#map=4/57.87/122.65

Who opens the bets on when they arrive in Seymchan?
 
Chris Kott
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Not a betting man, me. I just hope they all arrive safely.

Thanks for updating us, hans.

-CK
 
pollinator
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There are serious projects underway to clone mammoths. Just thought I'd share
 
hans muster
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@CK: I also hope they arrive safely, this is the most important. On such a long road so much could happen... Bison are made to roam, not to stand in a vibrating box. The faster they arrive, the faster they recover from the stress of the travel.

As some people enjoy the updates, here more news:

They passed Irkutsk, and are now driving away from lake Baikal (the biggest sweet water lake of the world, by the way).  

In my last message they had 101 hours left on OSM, now they have only 81 hours left till Seymchan, where the boat will take them downriver.
https://www.openstreetmap.org/directions?engine=fossgis_osrm_car&route=51.1886%2C108.3321%3B62.9318%2C152.3933#map=4/57.85/130.40

I think where they are now they can still find bactrian camels, which would be way easier to introduce to the pleistocene park than importing the bison from a few countries further. They want to introduce the camels to eat the shrubs, and because it was an important member in the pleistocene fauna there.

For pictures of the animals currently introduced to the park see the following
https://pleistocenepark.ru/animals/
I think of the musk ox and the european bison they only have males for now.
 
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