The reintroduction of predators alone can spark an ecosystem’s revival.Photograph by Thomas Shahan / FlickrIn 2011, the renowned evolutionary biologist E.O. Wilson paid a visit to Gorongosa National Park, in Mozambique. It is one of the few places in the world where you can get a feel for the Great African Rift Valley, humanity’s evolutionary home. After a couple hundred thousand years, the area is largely as it was—mostly the same flora and fauna, sounds and smells. Which is why Wilson titled his book on his time there, A Window on Eternity: A Biologist’s Walk Through Gorongosa National Park. It is a hopeful, triumphant tale: the story of how the area’s natural beauty and mammals were ravaged during Mozambique’s multi-decade civil war and came roaring back to life on the brink of permanent destruction. The revival of the area might serve as a model for future conservation. “Here, then, in one of the remotest parts of Africa,” Wilson wrote, “a great environmental tragedy has been averted just in time.”During the civil war, the hunger of soldiers stationed in Gorongosa led to the extirpation of the region’s leopards, wild dogs, hyenas, and to a lesser extent, lions. “That’s a tragic thing,”…Read More…
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Over six decades, the biologist (and workaholic) Edward O. Wilson has made huge contributions to science,...