Humans have always taken animals and plants with them on their travels around the world globe. The diaspora has provided new opportunities for those who have survived to establish new populations. These immigrants have been label invader or aliens who threaten nature’s pristine state. For many species, however, migration could be a way to escape the global extinction crisis.
Our recently published study revealed that introduced populations are partly responsible for the survival of one of the most endangered species on Earth. Megafauna, a species of plant-eating terrestrial mammals that weigh more than 100kg, have found new and surprising places to establish themselves. These feral species are rewilding the planet with fascinating and unique ecological functions that have lost for thousands upon thousands of years.
The world of giants today is a shadow of what it was. Australia lost giant kangaroos and rhino-like diprotodons around 50,000 years ago. The last mammoths, Glyptodonts (a variety of horses and camels), glyptodonts as well as several other species, vanished from North America around 12,000 years ago. A riot of giant, flightless birds roamed New Zealand’s landscape 800 years ago.
Humans were most likely responsible for the loss of Earth’s largest terrestrial animal at the end the Pleistocene. Unfortunately, 60% of the megafauna today are at risk of extinction, including large beasts that survived the collapse. International calls made for urgent action to save Earth’s last giants.
We Live World Imaginations Allow Us To Believe
Formal conservation distribution maps reveal that megafauna is absent from large swathes of Earth. This is just a small part of the story. Many megafauna can now found in areas other than their original ranges. In fact, the megafauna species diversity in regional megafauna is significantly higher than it was during the past 10,000 year.
Global introductions have increased megafauna numbers by 11% in Africa, Asia, and 33% in Europe. They also increased it by 57% in North America, 62% in South America and 100% in Australia.
Australia lost its entire megafauna tens to thousands of years ago. However, eight new megafauna species have been introduced into the country, including the only wild population in the world of dromedary wasls.
These megafauna are now in critical refuge. 64% of the species that were introduced to megafauna are endangered, extinct or in decline within their native habitats https://220.127.116.11/panduan/sabung-ayam.
Domestication And Subsequent World
Some megafauna survived domestication and subsequent feralisation, creating a link between the pre-agricultural landscapes that existed in the early Holocene nearly 10,000 years ago and the post-industrial landscapes that exist today.
For example, wild cattle are descendants of extinct aurochs. The wild camels from Australia have restored a species that was extinct for thousands of years. The vast majority of wild horses and wild donkeys in the world are also feral.
Although there have been many global calls for rewilding the world, it has been occurring already, often in a surprising way and with little to no intention.
In South America, a small number of wild hippopotamuses have recently settled. The cocaine hippos, also known as the offspring of Pablo Escobar’s abandoned hacienda, are animals that escaped.
We insist that idealised prehuman ecosystems should be preserved. However, we ignore the fact that new forms of wilderness are essential to the survival and enhancement of many existing ecosystems.
Megafauna is Earth’s tree-breakers and wood-eaters, hole diggers, hole-diggers trailblazers wallowers, nutrient movers, seed-carriers, and trailblazers. They eat fibrous, coarse plant matter and drive nutrient cycles which enrich soils and restructure plant communities. This helps other species to survive.
Megafauna’s wide-ranging movements move nutrients uphill, which would otherwise flow downstream to the oceans. These animals are nutrient pumps, which help to maintain soil fertility. Megafauna supports communities of predators and scavengers.
We have discovered that wild donkeys in North America dig wells up to a metre deep to access groundwater. These wells are used by at least 31 species. In certain circumstances, they can be nurseries for trees germinating.
To protect desert springs in Australia and North America, donkeys and other introduced megafauna were removed. This seems to have resulted to an overgrowth of wetland vegetation, which constricts open water habitat and dried out some springs. It may also have caused the extinctions of native fish. Ironically, land managers are now attempting to mimic megafauna by manually removing plants.
We have yet to recognize these organisms as having any ecological value. It is possible that megafauna introduced into the world are doing more than we think.
Living In A Wild World
Megafauna can be beneficial to some species and detrimental to others, just like any other species. Megafauna introduced to the area can cause great damage to plant communities. However, this is not true for native megafauna.
It is up to us to decide if we value the ecological role of introduced species such as burros or brumbies. One thing is certain, however: No species can exist in isolation.
Megafauna can be very large but predators can exert a significant influence on them. Dingo packs in Australia work together to hunt wild horses, wild donkeys and wild water buffalo. Mountain lions in North America have proven to reduce wild horse populations in certain areas of Nevada.
We can gain a fresh perspective on conserving native and introduce species by looking at how Sambar deer and donkeys were introduce to Australia by protect dingoes hunting, or Oryx and horses introduce by protected wolves hunting in the American West.
Nature isn’t static. It is possible to both pragmatic and optimistic by letting go of visions and brutal measures that use to enforce them. In this age of mass extinction, is it worth conserving all species?