An interesting discussion on Europe’s largest remaining herd of bison — a mere 470 – in today’s Guardian.
As the animals roll their massive shoulders and step disdainfully away from us through the trees, the question remains: what is natural? The winter-fed bison, at least surviving? A herd not fed or culled, but perhaps living in a forest that was not their original home? Or, if it could be achieved, bison living on open plains? How far back in time do we need to go?
Those questions posed apply to animals in numerous countries, in numerous situations. Wild or stray dogs in Lebanon. (Read this article on the controversy of stray dogs in Lebanon.) Coyotes in Lebanon. White-tail deer in North Carolina. What to do when we’ve altered the ecosystem to such a degree that we have animals deprived of their natural predator — coyotes without the wolves.
The issue is magnified with Europe’s bison – but not separated from the overall context, the overall situation: what do we do when we’ve altered nature to such an extent that “natural” rarely exists?