Could cheetahs, lions, and African elephants one day roam the American plains? Well that may sound like a strange idea, but not according to some extreme conservationists, who have published a paper in Nature magazine suggesting just such a wild plan. These conservationists want to create vast ecological parks with large mammals, mostly from Africa, as a way to revitalize certain habitats, and even create eco-tourism and land-management jobs in struggling rural areas of the Great Plains and Southwest. They say large tracts of private land are the most promising place to start, and a first pilot project to bring the endangered Bolson tortoise to a private ranch in New Mexico is now getting underway.

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