“From my earliest days, I have been drawn to the heart of wildness, to wild lands and wild rivers and wild things, to the places and beasts outside the rule of humankind.”
The more different kinds of plants and animals thriving around the globe, the more balanced Earth becomes. This is called biodiversity. Right now the planet is out of balance because there are too many people. Humans have caused many types of animals to become extinct, which means they have all died. Right now there are many types of animals that are very close to extinction because there are not very many left. When an animal is close to becoming extinct, it is endangered.
In Rewilding North America, author Dave Foreman explains why people need to provide more space for animals, and bring back ones that are extinct. Foreman says more animals are endangered than ever before because of choices humans make. In his book, he describes how people can bring these animals back.
One way to increase the number of animals is to create huge pathways so they can move up, down, and across continents. These paths are called corridors. Before humans, animals were able to travel great distances. This is called migration. When cities and highways are built, animals get trapped. When they cannot migrate, they often die. Foreman believes that highways should be raised high off the ground so animals such as bears and wolves can move without having to cross dangerous roads and highways.
Scientists are now able to bring back animals that are extinct. Rewilders like Dave Foreman believe people need to bring back extinct animals such as the saber tooth tiger. Large animals like the mammoths and giant tortoise are called megafauna. Foreman believes that bringing back megafauna will increase biodiversity, and increased biodiversity increases balance.
1. What is the main idea of this article?
2. In your own words, write four details that support the main idea.
3. How are corridors and migration related?
4. Why is the planet out of balance?
5. How do humans cause extinctions?
6. “I have been drawn to the heart of wildness.” What does this quote mean?
7. Is rewilding a good idea? Explain.
8. Use the following sentence frame to describe Dave Foreman: I think Dave Foreman is (adjective), because…
9. How are you and Dave Foreman alike (compare)?
10. How are you and Dave Foreman different (contrast)?
11. Some people around the world believe humans have dominion over nature, which means we have the right to use it anyway we want, even if it means destroying entire species of plants and animals. How do you feel about this issue? Explain.
E X T E N D . . . .
1. National Geographic created a list of species that could be brought back from extinction. Click here to explore Carolina Parakeets, Woolly Rhinos, Tasmanian Tigers and more.
2. How would everyday life be different if some of these animals were brought back? Create an illustration of a rewilded world with raised highways and herds of megafauna migrating below.
3. From parks, farms, neighborhoods and schools, to highways, office buildings and shopping malls, humans use land for a wide variety of reasons. Scientists are often asked to determine the biodiversity of an area before it can be used. Exploring biodiversity begins with data collection, when scientists count the number of plants and animals that live within a certain area. The Wonderville website has a biodiversity game where kids can join a team of experts and collect biodiversity data. Click the image above, or right here to play.
4. Click the links below to learn more about rewilding.