Re-Introducing Animals to Their Natural Home: Friendly Gesture or Playing God?

What happens to animals which have been removed from their natural habitat because of their status as endangered species?

Well, according to
Gray Wolf

“Limited attempts at predator reintroduction in the United States have for the most part proven very successful. The gray wolf, extirpated by hunters in the Yellowstone region some 90 years ago, is now thriving there in the wake of a controversial reintroduction program initiated in 1995, when the National Park Service released 31 gray wolves into the park’s expansive backcountry.”

The article goes on to say that since 1995, as many as 170 gray wolves roam freely throughout the park, though the elk population, which according to the article,

“Was denuding many iconic park landscapes in the absence of its chief predator — has fallen by half, in what many environmentalists see as a win-win scenario.”

Besides for this, there have been other successful reintroduction efforts in the U.S.:

“From the lynx in Colorado to the condor in California to the Black-footed ferret on the Plains, scientists are pleased with how well reintroduced species have taken to their new surroundings. As a result, many conservationists now view the reintroduction of iconic wildlife species as key to restoring otherwise degraded natural landscapes.”

The non-profit Rewilding Institute says:

“When we kill off big cats, wolves and other wild hunters, we lose not only prominent species, but also the key ecological and evolutionary process of top-down regulation…Wolves, cougars, lynx, wolverines, grizzly and black bears, jaguars, sea otters and other top carnivores need to be restored throughout North America in ecologically effective densities in their natural ranges where suitable habitat remains or can be restored.”

Although a representative from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) argues that:

“Reintroduction programs subject wild animals to capturing and handling, which is always stressful for them, and may eventually put them in the line of fire of farmers who are already angry about predator-reintroduction programs…when predators are reintroduced to an area where they have long been absent, prey species tend to scatter and their lives and behavior patterns are turned upside-down.”

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