Outback jumbos

An elephant in the bush is worth two on the veldt. Or something like that.

KANGAROOS and koalas should share this wide, brown land with elephants, a scientist has advised.

David Bowman, of the University of Tasmania, said the world’s biggest herbivores should be brought to Australia to munch their way through the large swath of introduced grasses pushing out native species in northern Australia.

The provocative suggestion by Professor Bowman, a forest ecologist, has been heavily criticised by some scientists as careless, given the potential for the giant creatures to create a greater problem than they will solve, and applauded as a radical solution to a growing environmental conundrum by others.

Because of course this kind of thing has worked so well in the past, as with the rabbits, rats, camels, cane toads, pigs, foxes, cats, dogs, goats, donkeys, mynah birds, trout, various ants and wasps, and dozens of plant species including some aggressive growers like blackberries and gorse bushes and the grasses which Prof Bowman suggests might be controlled by introducing elephants. I don’t know enough to call this a bullshit idea but it seems like something that should be treated with a great deal of caution.

Hey, wait a minute… his name is David Bowman? Really?

... just what do you think you're doing, Dave?












Sigh. Shame Fairfax closed the comments on that article before I found it.

Posted on February 2, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I saw this on the news yesterday. Very weird idea along the lines of “Cane beetles – we need cane toads to control them!” We know from experience the only thing that can control elephants is the ivory trade, and the types of guns you need for that are hard to come by in the land of sweetness and knives. Maybe we can set the army reservists a-huntin’ and kill two elephants with one artillary shell. I recommend the gov’t put me in charge of it. I’ll do it non-profit, cos I am against taking the King’s Shilling. Julia, I await your phone call.

  2. Reinhard beat me to the ‘But what do you then introduce to keep down the number of elephants?’ comment! 😉

  3. Only one problem with the good Prof’s idea of using elephants to control introduced grasses and that is that elephants browse on trees, they don’t graze.

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