Friday, August 5, 2011
Follow the Hogs
You can never have enough cheetahs. The park will be introducing three imported cheetahs soon, after an acclimation period in the sanctuary area. Bailey and I worked up a scheme for improving the cheetah situation. One thing we have a ton of here are warthogs. The population of jungle pork is hugely out of balance. So we proposed to Greg that we could pile warthogs in a fleet of buses and head off to where the cheetahs are in southern Africa. Then we spread out warthogs behind us on the way home to create a population density gradient of warthogs that the cheetahs will follow to Gorongosa. The warthogs seem to be a cheerful and unfocussed bunch and I don't think we would need to make up an elaborate story for them. Then they would do what they are supposed to do, which is give it up for the cheetahs.
Grimly, it turns out that cheetahs would rather tangle with just about any smaller four-footer before they try a warthog. When the warthogs came plowing and schmuffling the cheetahs would go scampering back to Zimbabwe. So Bailey and I are back at the drawing board in the endowed chair we share at the Institute for Impractical Ecologists, which is what we shall call our second-row seat on the safari truck.