Library Dissertation Showcase

Pleistocene Rewilding in South America: Possibilities and pitfalls of megafauna rewilding with the example proxy species of Africa Elephants.

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2022

During the late Pleistocene, the majority of the world’s megafauna species were extinct. Rewilding these species is a current and contentious issue in the field of conservation science, being referred under many lights from “An Optimistic Agenda for Twenty‐First Century Conservation” to “A wolf in sheep’s clothing”. This paper aims to explore the suggested explanations for these extinctions and apply this understanding, in combination with knowledge on climate conditions, to the topic of Pleistocene rewilding. Focusing on the example of using African forest elephants as a proxy species for South American gomphothere, data analysis techniques aligning with those used it predictive species distribution modelling are used to compare the climate conditions of South America and Africa. Results of this analysis are then considered in combination with a range of other factors and used to make conclusions as to the feasibility of this example and suggestions to improve future studies. This research indicated that African forest elephants are not a suitable proxy species for gomphothere based on this direct comparison of climate conditions, however it is also concluded that there are many more factors to be considered ranging from human activity to anthropogenic climate change.

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