It may be possible to restore extinct megafauna like giant horses, North American cheetah, cave bears, etc. by means of genetic engineering.

Just this weekend at a meeting I wondered if it were possible to restore the orginal cattle (today’s cow is a completely human-derived animal).

I’m not endorsing this, but it ought to provoke discussion.

Article in Science Daily.

October 3. More on this at Carnivore Conservation. “What is wrong with USA? Not enough giant cheetahs!”

About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

3 Responses to A Plan For Reintroducing Megafauna To North America

  1. Jean Ossorio says:

    It’s my impression that my friend Dave Foreman and his collaborators are thinking more about introducing living relatives of extinct North American cheetahs, mastodons, lions, etc., than about “genetic engineering” to bring back extinct fauna, a la Jurassic Park. I don’t presume to speak for them, however.

    In an article in Nature (Vol. 436, 18 August 2005) they state, “Among the objections to Pleistocene re-wilding is that the proposed proxies are not genetically identical to the animals that formerly existed in North America.” They go on to point out, however, that reintroduction of peregrine falcons that were not identical to extirpated birds in midwestern North America was successful.

    Those who are interested in learning more about this issue may want to check out the page on Pleistocene Rewilding on the web site of the Rewilding Institute, at

  2. Jean Ossorio says:

    It’s my impression that my friend Dave Foreman and his colleagues are proposing introducing living relatives of extinct North American megafauna, rather than genetically engineered creatures a la Jurassic Park.

    For additional information on the subject, and a link to their August 18, 2005 article in Nature, check the Rewilding Institute web site at

    Thanks for bringing the idea to a wider audience, Ralph.

  3. Jean Ossorio says:

    It’s my impression that these folks are proposing to introduce living relatives of extinct North American megafauna, rather than some genetically engineered organisms a la Jurassic Park.

    For addition information and a link to an article on the subject from Nature (Vol. 436, No. 18, August 2005) check the website of the Rewilding Institute.



‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey