Australia Wants to Get Elephants

Australia has a long and painful experience with alien species introduced by humans, who have profoundly affected the ecological balance of the continent. However, David Bowman, professor of ecology at the University of Tasmania, suggests that a possible solution to serious environmental problems in Australia would be … introduction of new alien species.

In a study published in the journal Nature, David Bowman explains that large areas of land in the country are extremely difficult to control situations such as natural fire extension and spread of invasive species of plants and animals.

For example, gamba grass (Andropogon gayanus), a grass species originating in Africa and can grow to 4 feet tall, has become an invasive species in Australia and has an important role in the emergence and development of a fire. Programmes to control by spraying with herbicides from aircraft and cutting inefficient because these plants are very large surfaces.

Bowman proposes a biological solution: the introduction of species that consume large quantities of this plant. For example, introduction of elephants, along with traditional controlled burn on small areas, practiced by indigenous people, could help to rule fires in the north.

Ecologist also proposes the reintroduction of species unro local predators such as dingoes, to control the spread of feral animals such as cats or foxes. Installation of fences, poisoning or shooting these animals their helicopter are inefficient and costly methods.

He believes that Aborigines should be encouraged (and rewarded financially) to hunt these animals, the activity would have a beneficial effect on Aboriginal health, suffering from the adoption of Western lifestyles.

Obviously, all copies should be marked introduced and closely monitored by GPS, the radio installation, sterilization, contraception, etc..

Bowman has extensive experience as a naturalist, he spent 20 years in northern Australia, often with native populations, dealing with the study of plants, natural fires and feral animals.

His ideas have sparked heated debates within the scientific community, some biologists considering that the proposed actions it would be dangerous and would exacerbate problems already caused by alien species.

However, David Bowman insists that point approaches, the control of either species invasive, costly and ineffective and that it takes a holistic solution that takes into account not only the scientific side, but also factors of emotional and cultural.

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