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Wild Bison Return to Europe After a Century  RSS feed

 
duane hennon
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I thought there were some "rewilding threads" but couldn't find them
relocate if appropriate

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/03/160323-european-bison-reintroduced-netherlands-rewilding-science/

Wild Bison Return to Europe After a Century

"Rewilding" movement spreads across the continent.
 
David Livingston
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Wild European Bison a close relative of the Bison found in North America have always lived in Europe it's just that they have been extinct in a wild state in Western Europe for many many years . Numbers are increasing due to the end of hunting in Eastern Europe so now is the time to reintroduce them back into western Europe .

David
 
David Livingston
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I see that standards of sub editing are slipping now that it's owned by Murdoch

David
 
Tyler Ludens
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Do you know if the people supporting the reestablishment of these keystone animals are ok with reestablishment of their predators? In my region, predators are not tolerated by farmers and ranchers.

I personally don't see the point in pretending to "restore" extinct species like aurochs, who would just be fake aurochs, not the real thing, when the predators for them, such as the European lion, are extinct.

 
David Livingston
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Re creating the aurochs was a Nazi pet project and I don't see the point of it when you could use some established early breed like English long horn or chillingham cattle instead
As for rewinding it would solve the deer and rabbit problems to have more predators
I would be quite happy to see more lynx and wolves .... Bears not so much

David
 
David Livingston
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The bisons main prediator is man a species fairly far to well established in many ways

David
 
Tyler Ludens
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You'd think man would be an efficient predator, but in my region he is mostly efficient at killing other predators, while letting the prey species overpopulate.

I'm just not very convinced by "ecosystem restoration" projects which don't include predators. Seem more like parks or big zoos in some ways.

 
duane hennon
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to paraphrase Sepp

"If you don't have predators, you have to do the work of predators"
 
Casie Becker
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One of the first things we did moving into this neighborhood was locate the family who had a cow loose. It was browsing it's way through the front yards. This is not a rural area. What measures are being put in place to keep these wild cattle out of the suburbs?

There are entire neighborhoods where I have to stop and get food immediately after driving through. In broad daylight, in bustling city yards is so much delicious venison wandering around. When deer move their habitat directly into suburban yards it's much harder to safely cull the herds. Simply being wild isn't enough to keep animals away from humans.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Almost nothing is as delicious as a suburban yard.

 
John Weiland
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@Tyler L: "Seem more like parks or big zoos in some ways. "

Have I heard correctly now that warthogs are actually establishing in Texas after escaping from hunting preserves? Maybe they will 'high-five' some peccaries and razorbacks and say "Cousin!....Where have you been all these years!...."
 
Tyler Ludens
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I hadn't heard about the warthogs, but we do have Axis deer (Chital) in large numbers.
axismorning.jpg
[Thumbnail for axismorning.jpg]
 
David Livingston
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Have you thought of setting up a deer park ?
Serious , it's an area with high fencing where the deer can get in but not get out . Every time you want a deer you just go and get one . They were very popular with the lords and ladies in Europe as sort of meat larder for the rich .

David
 
Tyler Ludens
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I certainly don't need a deer park when the deer are all over the place. I try to fence the deer out of my garden, but I have no desire (or ability) to fence them in...
 
David Livingston
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http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35890789

Nice new pussy cats for the UK ?

David
 
Dale Hodgins
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I hope that they've picked the right cat for the UK. The ones from the east are deer specialists. Those from Iberia are rabbit specialists. Sheep would seem to be a suitable alternative prey for the deer hunters. Rabbit eaters might also go after hedgehogs.
 
Tyler Ludens
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I think if we're going to support healthy ecosystems, we can't expect predators to not be predators. We have to be willing to protect our livestock with good housing, in my opinion, instead of demanding the predators not behave like predators.

Unfortunately in my region people don't feel this way, so they kill all the predators.
 
Casie Becker
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I don't know if it would be any consolation, but in our family the hold up to raising rabbits for meat and chickens for both eggs and meat has been waiting until we're ready to tackle the housing necessities.

The only time we ever felt in necessary to trap a wild predator was a bobcat/housecat crossbreed who kept entering our home in pursuit of our house cats. I'm actually rather curious (honestly wondering, not being sarcastic) if you would feel this was a reasonable line to draw before killing this animal? When I say home I mean the house itself, not the property or an outbuilding.
 
David Livingston
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Was the Bobcat cross after food or sex ?
Can Lynx hybidise with tabby cats ?
As much as I like the idea ofthe return of the lynx it's a pity that scotlands wild cat population is not more protected . ( mainly by shooting stay feral cats )

David
 
Tyler Ludens
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Casie Becker wrote: I'm actually rather curious (honestly wondering, not being sarcastic) if you would feel this was a reasonable line to draw before killing this animal?


I draw the line at the door, personally.

 
Mick Fisch
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I think it's totally cool that their reintroducing european bison.

People have been modifying the ecosystem for millenia, so we don't really know how it was without people. Anyway aren't we animals also and part of the ecosystem? Anything we do is just our best guess at best and more likely a fantasy.

When people are the predators we generally take the young and healthy in preference to the old and sickly (better eating). Maybe if the foresters/guides select the animals the rich guys get to pay big bucks to harvest it might work.

That said, the following observations are delivered in good humor and I hope it is received as such. What I'm trying to point out is our group and individual inconsistancy.

Every year or so in Alaska I would hear on the radio about some kid disappearing during a berry picking trip (generally it's assumed to be black bears). I've not met any parents willing to allow unsupervised bears around their kids. Parents can be so unreasonable, not looking at the overall good at all.

If it's a bunch of adults with no livestock, especially city people who've never been around a big predator, people might well be willing to live and let live. Once people have small children running around outside their views on "survival of the fittest" tend to take a radical revision, and any predators that MIGHT end up around their kids tend to die, without even getting to take a little taste of the tot, thereby showing why WE are the top predators. Same attitudes go with predators taking livestock, only it's less personal and people are way more likely to be reasonable.

There have been fairly successful attempts to educate predators (like the shock dummies in the tiger jungles in India to teach the tigers to stay away from people), but if one of your family is the occasional victim that will still happen, you're going to be seriously pissed at someone for not killing every damned tiger around.

It's a shame folks are so unreasonable. I'm in favor of confiscating thousands of square miles of land to make migratory corridors so we can return the ecosystem to the way it was. Of course, not my land! Lets confiscate some other poor schmucks land. It would be nice if it was near me, so I could enjoy it, but then it would probably interfere with my ability to make a living, so on second thought, the other end of the country is probably a better place for it.

Seriously, I don't see a good way to rewild in populated areas. I really wish there was a good way. To rewild anything close to correctly, you need predators, top predators. People as a group aren't willing to allow predators to predat around them in the manner they certainly will.
 
Mick Fisch
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Casie Becker wrote:
I'm actually rather curious (honestly wondering, not being sarcastic) if you would feel this was a reasonable line to draw before killing this animal?


If it's after me or something of mine, I may well harvest it. I understand it's just acting out it's own nature. So am I.

Everything dies, so I'm not going to get too wound up about a stray cat, opposum or other varmint. Nature provides in abundance, partly because there is so much dying going on. If there is a value in this particular animal, I may well make an extra effort, otherwise, no. Permaculture is about diversity, but it isn't really about total diversity, we want to retain the option to promote some species/ individual specimens and discourage others. I want to exterminate poison ivy around my house because it causes me problems. Animals that go after my animals are in the same category in my mind.
 
duane hennon
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http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/05/opinion/in-zimbabwe-we-dont-cry-for-lions.html?_r=0

In Zimbabwe, We Don’t Cry for Lions
By GOODWELL NZOU AUG. 4, 2015
 
David Livingston
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Here in France the wolf is extending it's range from both the alps and the pyrennies . The poor Bears all 7 of them are not doing so well .

David
 
Tyler Ludens
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Mick Fisch wrote: if one of your family is the occasional victim that will still happen, you're going to be seriously pissed at someone for not killing every damned tiger around.


Would I want every damned human killed if a family member is murdered, run down by a drunk driver, etc?

I find it peculiar that so many of these sorts of conversations about predators end up with us talking about killing them, but we rarely talk about how we accommodate nonhumans in our permaculture systems. Even most of our discussions about non-predators are about how to exclude them from our systems, not how we include them. To me this makes permaculture look not much different from agriculture, in which nothing is tolerated or welcomed which is not of human use.



 
Mick Fisch
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Would I want every damned human killed if a family member is murdered, run down by a drunk driver, etc?


I would probably go on the warpath against drunk drivers, tighter laws, etc. Tigers by their nature are predators. As such, they harvest the unwary and slow. We smell bad and so are not normally their first choice, but hunger makes everything palatable. Therefore to take your example, all tigers in the area are like drunk drivers. Just as in drunk drivers, most haven't hit anyone, yet. They don't really care much about what laws we pass, so we need to handle them differently.

Understand, I am not advocating the extinction of species, far from it. I wouldn't want another person killed. I was merely pointing out that most people don't want large predators near them for real and understandable reasons. I don't think people and large, wild predators have never got along well for very long in close proximity.

I've read there will come a day when the lion lies down with the lamb and the bears eats grass like an ox. As far as I can see, that day hasn't arrived yet.

Best wishes
 
David Livingston
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Mick many of us live near the most dangerous preditor on the planet
I see one every morning in the mirror and it's not a pretty sight let me tell you .
I also think we are straying of the subject not that it's not a good subject but the thread is about rewinding in Europe

David
 
Tyler Ludens
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Mick Fisch wrote:
Understand, I am not advocating the extinction of species, I was merely pointing out that most people don't want large predators near them for real and understandable reasons. Anyone not understanding that has been watching too many disney movies. (I am not trying to come after you or accuse you of being a disney fanatic, just trying to make myself clearly understood).


As a young woman I would go backpacking alone into bear and cougar territory. I never worried about them in the slightest. I was in far more danger from humans in the city (Los Angeles). I find most people's "real and understandable reasons" for being fearful of predators to be entirely irrational. If we apply actual risk assessment to the situation, there is no reason for being afraid of nonhumans compared to humans. Statistically one's chances of being attacked, forget about killed, by a predator are so low as to be ignorable.

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm

http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/overview/key_data.html

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/when-animals-attack-death-databases-indicate-that-our-fondest-phobias-may-be-misdirected/

 
Tyler Ludens
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David Livingston wrote:
I also think we are straying of the subject not that it's not a good subject but the thread is about rewinding in Europe


I think we're right on subject - we're discussing how we do - or rather, how we don't - accommodate nonhumans in permaculture.

 
Mick Fisch
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find it peculiar that so many of these sorts of conversations about predators end up with us talking about killing them, but we rarely talk about how we accommodate nonhumans in our permaculture systems. Even most of our discussions about non-predators are about how to exclude them from our systems, not how we include them. To me this makes permaculture look not much different from agriculture, in which nothing is tolerated or welcomed which is not of human use.


I apologise if I came off harsh. One of the (many) problems I have is that I still find myself thinking in terms of maximum productivity. As I understand it, if I figure I need 2 apple trees for my needs, I should plant half a dozen or more, so I can afford to allow a fair amount of sharing. I find myself forgetting this. Thanks for the reminder.

I knew a guy who grew up around a bunch of Dakota who showed him how to harvest some berry (the name escapes me now). Among the various practical items they insisted on, was to make sure that they left quite a bit for "the little people" (wildlife). Even so, I doubt they would have wanted something eating one of their animals. Generosity has to have limits.

As far as small predators, for the most part exclusion works fine. When you run into one that is outsmarting you, you may have two choices, give up chickens or get rid of the varmint. A dog or two will keep most large predators away, especially if they are living with the livestock.

With that said, sometimes the sharing may need to be limited. Wild life will expand to its limits. If you provide lots of food, sharing with the wildlife, more wildlife will survive and breed.

I stand by my opinion on large predators though. They are just too good at what they do. Several years ago I remember people saying there hadn't been any documented attacks on people by mountain lions. Well, that statement is in shambles. Then there weren't any on alligators attacking people. The last few years have seen a bunch of attacks. The main reason we didn't have recorded attacks were mainly because we had knocked the large predator population way down before we started keeping good records. Not every time by anymeans, but generally when lots of cultures do the same things, it turns out there is a reason. Maybe predators do what comes naturally to them. Rarely would the meal be a person, but once is too often if it's one of yours. I don't want large predators around my kids or grandkids. If you want them around you, I'm fine with that.

I am not against large predators. I want a place for them. What I was trying to illustrate was the difficulty of large predators around people. Large predators often have big ranges and the world is crowded. Everyone wants to save them, but no one wants them in their back yard.

As far as humans being a greater threat, I absolutely agree. I was always careful about the larger humans I wanted my little ones running around with.
 
Casie Becker
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I'm finding the discussion about large predators interesting. I suspect they are like poisonous snakes here. I don't know anyone personally who wouldn't want to kill any rattler, copperhead, or black moccasin they found in their back yard. I know those people exist, but they're extremely rare.

I am curious if anyone has an alternative suggestions to control the population of large wild life near urban areas without the inclusion of large wild predators.

Coming from a small town that occasionally had packs of dogs running wild, even a large dog can be a very threatening predator to humans as well as animals.

Oh.. bobcats and Lynx are different species, but theoretically all cats from lions to house cats are genetically compatible. I don't know how you'd get a lioness to cooperate, but apparently your neighborhood tomcat has what it takes to knock her up.
 
duane hennon
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Casie said:
I am curious if anyone has an alternative suggestions to control the population of large wild life near urban areas without the inclusion of large wild predators.


as I said above;

to paraphrase Sepp

"If you don't have predators, you have to do the work of predators"


http://www.crosman.com/airbow#&gid=1&pid=1

as an option

the inclusion of large herbivores, whether wild or domestic into the landscape
will allow for the environment to evolve
this is the basis of Savory's grazing system
the question to ask is "do the people want it to change"
the people living in a area should have a say in the matter
not just so do-gooder organization or government agency
 
Dale Hodgins
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There are bears and cougars in my area. They pass through in search of food or on their way to the river. I don't generally think about them or take any precaution. A bull elk can be dangerous. The greatest danger to me when I go to the farm, is the highway. Once there, my chainsaw is probably the greatest threat.
-----
The European bison isn't going to take over Paris and London won't be overrun by wild cats. Both creatures avoid humans. Domestic cats kill millions of small birds. If Lynx were to hunt down feral cats, the birds might get some respite.
 
Casie Becker
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duane hennon wrote:

Casie said:
I am curious if anyone has an alternative suggestions to control the population of large wild life near urban areas without the inclusion of large wild predators.


as I said above;

to paraphrase Sepp

"If you don't have predators, you have to do the work of predators"




And I'm still not understanding the mechanics of the solution you're presenting. How are you visualizing humans doing the work of predators? I don't see many governments allowing open shooting of guns or bows within highly populated areas. I even have a hard time picturing them allowing trapping. The idea of mass poison seems in line with historic responses, but also seems reprehensible to me. The idea of trained hunting teams of dogs to replace the wild predators was the closest I could see but seems more brutally bloody than I think most people could stomache. I have a sometimes graphic imagination, but I am not seeing anything that I think would fly with the general public. Do you have any other suggestions or do you think one of these would be the response?

Our local deer populations suffer from severe malnutrition caused by 'helpful' home owners feeding the deer wholely unsuitable grains. Combine this with the severe overpopulation stripping all other available resources, the local deer often die slow miserable deaths from starvation and disease. We like the taste of deer in this region. People pay exorbitant amounts for hunting licenses each year for an opportunity to hunt them. It's not making much impact on the populations within our cities.
 
duane hennon
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And I'm still not understanding the mechanics of the solution you're presenting. How are you visualizing humans doing the work of predators? I don't see many governments allowing open shooting of guns or bows within highly populated areas. I even have a hard time picturing them allowing trapping. The idea of mass poison seems in line with historic responses, but also seems reprehensible to me. The idea of trained hunting teams of dogs to replace the wild predators was the closest I could see but seems more brutally bloody than I think most people could stomache. I have a sometimes graphic imagination, but I am not seeing anything that I think would fly with the general public. Do you have any other suggestions or do you think one of these would be the response?

Our local deer populations suffer from severe malnutrition caused by 'helpful' home owners feeding the deer wholely unsuitable grains. Combine this with the severe overpopulation stripping all other available resources, the local deer often die slow miserable deaths from starvation and disease. We like the taste of deer in this region. People pay exorbitant amounts for hunting licenses each year for an opportunity to hunt them. It's not making much impact on the populations within our cities.


you (your state)have to think outside the box
charging exorbinant prices restricts the number of hunters to the rich
limits the number of deer taken and increases the number that die of starvation
make it more accessable to the public, especially the residents

hunting shouldn't be the only tool to control the population,
culling should also be used
the airbow would seem to be the ideal weapon for populated areas

here is a local neighborhood's attempt at the solution
(it's like pulling teeth dealing with animal lovers and the game commission)
http://mtlebanon.org/2114/Deer-Management-Information

herbivores have no self regulating population control (that's not their job in the scheme of things)
they will eat until there's nothing left and then starve
or something kills or someone harvests them
which is why predators are needed for healthy populations (controlling prey is their job in the scheme of things)
without predators, humans have to do the job (or you end up with the mess you have)
so either introduce wolves and mountain lions
or change the hunting rules (I didn't say it would be easy)
or continue with the current mess
 
Mick Fisch
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In Alaska there was a proposal to put bait out for wolves containing birth control to limit the population. (I'm just reporting, not suggesting). It was eventually shot down due to concerns about cost and effectiveness. Such an idea has also been suggested for urban deer populations.

Some areas have gone to bow hunting, or even cross bow hunting. Some have employed professional hunters to cut down the numbers. The general problem is that deer are designed to reproduce at a rate supporting fairly intense predation from whatever (wolves, cougars, humans, fast moving vehicles). Deer don't care what we think is right. They operate under a biologic imperative to reproduce! So, since the deer refuse to cooperate, our choices are limited. We either exclude the deer, we hunt the deer, we allow other predators to hunt the deer, we let the deer overpopulate, starve, and be killed by cars, or we put the deer on birth control. As far as I can see, that's about all the choices there are.

To those who mentioned that they have been in cougar/bear country and didn't worry about it, I agree. Large predators have large territories and the chances of you being in the same spot as the predator are small. Couple that with the fact that we smell bad, we tend to move around in packs, we are actually a visually large animal (think how much trouble a dog your size could cause), and the bonus fact that many predators have been trained to avoid the shaved monkeys with bang sticks and it's not surprising that you had no trouble. I lived and camped for years in Alaska and I never worried too much about the bears when our group was all adults or adults and teenagers. I took sensible precautions (food not near me, hanging in a tree). One time we even had to camp on a bear road because it was the only dry spot near where our track rig got stuck. We put up a string of bear bells. No problems. The real problem I have with predators is with small children. A black bear will hang around an adult for quite a while, trying to decide if your too big to tackle (You know he's stronger, I know he's stronger, but all he sees is a big, potentially powerful animal. He could get hurt taking you down, injuries can lead to death). A small child is different. Their size shows they are no threat. They are often out away from the big humans, running around or picking berries, he/she's an easy meal. I don't see large predators as bad, I just see them as big animals that eat meat to survive. They are opportunistic. That means they take targets of opportunity. If you have no children in the area, things are quite a bit different. When I lived in Alaska I relied on dogs roaming loose to keep bears away from our central area, where the kids were. Since the dogs like the kids, whenever the kids were out roaming, they had company. The dogs annoy the bears, the bears can't quite catch the dogs so the bears finally leave, unless you've got something really, really attractive to them, which I tried to avoid. I never thought the kids were an attractant, just targets of opportunity.

In my experience, having a few well socialized dogs running around doesn't seem to result in a lot of wildlife deaths (there was no livestock around us, that might change things). They excluded some species from their area, that seemed the biggest effect. Cats are another story. They are really good predators on small things. I really don't care much for feral cats. I like birds around. My preference.

When I lived in the bush in the 70's, the long established custom in the village was that any dog seen running loose was shot on the third day by anyone who saw it. They were mostly sled dogs, poorly socialized, and there had been problems in the past with them escaping, forming packs and attacking children on their way to school in the winter. We didn't let our dog run loose there. The better fix would have been to socialize the dogs, but that's not the one they went with in that area. In Greenland, I've read they let the sled dogs run loose the first two years. Being pups, they end up at the elementary school during recess. After a couple of years they are really well socialized. The other thing they do there is pull the puppies fangs. A dog doesn't need fangs to eat dogfood and the very few dog attacks they have had haven't resulted in bad injuries because of the lack of fangs. Way different (and better solution) than bush Alaska or Canada have come up with. It made me happy when I read it.
 
duane hennon
gardener
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Location: western pennsylvania zone 5/a
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so we have two things going on here

introducing (or already having) large herbivores in the area

and
how to control them (predators or humans)
bringing in predators is not without its own problems
as they tend to kill things other than just the target species

fencing and other controls has been suggested to protect domestic livestock
but who should have to pay for these:
the ranchers who were able to get along without them before the predators were introduced
or the people who introduced the predators

http://www.psmag.com/nature-and-technology/wake-up-call-for-wolf-killers


NATURE & TECHNOLOGY
A Wake Up Call for the Wolf Killers
Wildlife Services, an infamous federal agency that kills tens of thousands of native predators a year, is reviled by conservationists around the country. Is reform looming?


the good old days of a wild garden of Eden
yearned for by many
was ruled over by lions, tigers, bears, oh my!
and didn't have any concerns about humans or their safety

so the questions should be
is this eden actually a special place?
and
just what kind of place do we want?
 
Bernard Welm
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Location: Minnesota
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Seeing how this is happening in the Netherlands and I spent time living and working there I will make a few comments.

The Netherlands has been working hard at introducing larger herbivores back into it's "natural areas". The Natural areas are not anything like what we have in North America. Most cases they are MULTI use areas. There is commercial, recreational and ecological things happening at the same time. So the likelihood is these animals will be used to help "maintain" the natural settings like sheep do in the heather, Scottish highland cows do in many "meadow" areas.

These cows are going to an area where I did work, there is a LARGE area with heather that is maintained by fire, sheep, and cows right now. The Buffalo will likely fit right in with the other methods of maintaining the heather (keeping the grass down and the trees out).

The thing I REALLY liked working with a conservation agency there (Well that is about the best translation there is but it is like just calling a birch tree a tree it gets the idea but it does not fully describe it). Is that while they really did look at preserving the natural species for the area they also realized that people were part of the environment and had been for a really long time. So they found ways to integrate people and the uses we have for the environment (trees for lumber, etc) into one package. I really have missed this in North America. Here there are areas for Logging, areas for recreation and areas for nature preservation but very little integration of the three. Something I would hope Permaculture will help people see that all can happen in one area.
 
Victor Johanson
Posts: 377
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
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Here in Alaska the wood bison has recently been reintroduced:

http://www.adn.com/article/20150920/reintroduced-wood-bison-prepare-first-alaska-winter-wild

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wood_bison

They were indigenous here up until around 100 years ago, and are remembered in aboriginal oral histories. There was a lot of opposition that had to be overcome to make this happen, but now the deed is done. It will be interesting to see how they fare.
 
Richard Gorny
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Location: Poland, zone 5
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Well, european bison does not have to be introduced to Europe, since only in Poland, which with no doubt is in Europe, we have nearly 1400 of them ... They are also present in few other countries, although in small numbers. I know, I know, geography at school sucks ...
 
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