These Giant Invasive Beasts May Actually Be Good for the Planet
Feral horses or camels may not "belong" where we put them, a new study says, but they're keeping the species wild and helping the ecosystem.
The conventional view among ecologists is that these species and other expatriate herbivores are an ecological problem. A new study takes issue with that, arguing that we should welcome them in their new ranges. According to the authors, out-of-place beasts are either replacing grazing animals that humans drove extinct thousands of years ago, or preserving their own species from extinction, or both.
Of the 76 herbivores in the world that weigh more than 100 kilograms (220 pounds), 22 have substantial populations outside their native ranges, according to ecologist Erick Lundgren of Arizona State University and his colleagues. Of those 22, half are threatened or extinct in their native ranges.
Some of the new populations are feral, that is, they’re wild