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Updated: Nov 8, 2023

A paper recently published in the Journal of Animal Ecology explored the idea of re-introducing megaherbivores such as elephants to help restore habitats in Europe. Here is a thought-provoking article from the authors of the paper:

Conservationists want to introduce elephants into Europe - here's why

Published on the World Economic Forum, 7th October, 2021, by Harry Wells (Research Ecologist, University of Leeds), Nora Ward (Lecturer in Philosophy, National University of Ireland Galway), and Ramiro D. Crego (Postdoctoral Researcher, National Zoo and Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute)

Imagine driving through a lush, green landscape in France or Germany and spotting a herd of elephants roaming freely. As absurd as that might seem, it was only 10,000 years ago that creatures the size of elephants populated continents like Europe. That’s a blip in evolutionary terms.

In the last 10,000 to 60,000 years, humans have almost single-handedly eliminated around 80% of the world’s herbivore species that weigh over a tonne – known as “megaherbivores”. The last living mammoth, for instance, was wandering around Wrangel Island off the coast of Siberia as recently as 3,700 years ago.

Stock photo

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