Elizabeth Pisani gives us her favorite blog comment. I had to think hard about mine, but it is probably this one:
I may be crazy but, the idea has been nagging me for some time that perhaps the biggest favor we could do for the African poor would be to kill off all that dangerous wild life. The presence of lions, hyenas, hippos, wildebeests, zebras (which injure more zoo personnel than any other animal — why they cannot be domesticated) must crowd out enormous amounts of resources as well as making life just too dangerous. How free can poor subsistence farmers feel to innovate or invest when their every movement is hemmed in by an open zoo?
I would knock off every crocodile on earth too. They are a danger to children everywhere they live (Australia). I personally would be willing to see every alligator go too (two legs good; four legs bad me) but alligators to my understanding are smaller and tend to eat (once a month?) smaller prey (birds, your family dog but probably not you).
Think of how profitably domesticated herds could use the same vast natural resources used by useless to poor people wild herds and their natural predators. I am perfectly serious about this even if crazy or badly ill informed or both.
PS. In a hundred years you will give your kid a DNA set for Christmas and she can make a Tyrannosaurs whatever. In two hundred they only place you may find homo sapiens could be the zoo. So don’t worry too much about “irreplaceable” species.