A More Ethical Method of Large Predator Reintroduction

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*Staff Note* – Below is an email sent to the editor of Wolf Education International from Dr. Valerius Geist. Attached to the email was an interesting article from Dr. A.J.T.Johnsingh, Nature Conservation Foundation, WWF-India and Corbett Foundation. The article contains information about efforts that were and are being made to ready a wilderness preserve for the reintroduction of lions. Part of that effort involved the voluntary (with incentives?) evacuation, by the natives, from the wild lands, in order to make room for the lions.

Here is what Geist wrote as an introduction to the Johnsingh article:

Dear [Editor],

I am enclosing an article by an Indian colleague, A. J. T. Johnsingh. It is of interest as it shows an ethical way of introducing and conserving large carnivores – the Indian Lion, in this case. It stands in sharp contrast to how wolves were introduced and are currently manged in the United States and in Europe.

These wolf introductions are unethical on many fronts: (1) the deliberate exclusion from any consideration of historical material detailing the experiences with wolves both in Eurasia and in North America. (2) The failure to critically examine the modeling which has been shown by my colleague, Charles Kay, to contain biased flaws – well hidden! Too bad that some good scientists did not discover this in time. (3) The failure to critically examine the matter of disease introductions and their consequence, despite having been – knowledgeably – urged to do so, and the continued obfuscating of the disease issue. (4) The failure to consider the prey exploration and acquisition strategies of wolves, thereby deliberately ignoring established Canid ethology.

As we shall see, there are more ethical issues with scholarship, but we need first to consider several other failures. Wolves were essentially dumped, cynically, into settled landscapes, without insuring that residents would not be negatively affected. The individuals bearing the cost of wolf introductions are, in the first instance, producers of livestock and livestock products. And, as currently implemented, they are expected to bear such costs, in many cases leading to the total destruction of livelihoods, period! And that is supposed to be ethical?

And finally, all those American and European measures to introduce wolves are futile, as in settled landscapes wolves in the long run hybridize with coyotes and dogs – as is happening right now in eastern North America generating the “coywolf” – thereby destroying the wolf as a species. And this assured destruction of the wolf is now proceeding full force in both, North America and in the European Union. It is hard to imagine a greater failure in wildlife conservation, let alone in considered, evidence-based, fair-minded dealings. How much further can environmentalism sink?

Sincerely, Val Geist

Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science

Kuno is ready to receive lions from Gujarat

“Just before the meeting on the 18th, certain leaders of the local people met the committee members and pleaded with them to bring the lions as early as possible. Their rightful contention was that nearly 1500 families living in the 345 sq.km sanctuary made the great sacrifice of leaving the forest in late 1990s and early 2000 so as to make the habitat disturbance-free, which is vital for reviving the habitat
essential to bring the lions. They said that any further delay in bringing the lions would make their sacrifice a mockery and meaningless.”<<<Read More>>>