经济学人:回归野性
日期:2012-03-22 14:18

(单词翻译:单击)

IN A quiet spot in eastern Montana, on rolling golden prairies and under vast skies, 71 buffalo calves charge out of a corral. Kicking up dust as they run, they quickly join a herd of several hundred American buffalo of all ages. The calves had arrived by road from Elk Island reserve in Canada; they are pure descendants of the buffalo that once lived in this area. At the end of the 19th century just a few were saved from American hunters and bred, in peace, on the other side of the border.
在美国蒙大拿州东部一块安静的草原上,天空广阔无垠,金色草原延绵起伏。71头刚从栅栏中被释放出来的小野牛,奔向草原,地上的尘土被他们跑动的蹄子卷到半空高。很快,他们就加入了一个由几百只美洲野牛组成的牛群中,这个牛群拥有不同年龄段的野牛。这些小野牛们是通过公路从加拿大鹿岛自然保护区运送到蒙大拿州的;他们是纯正的美洲野牛,其祖先曾经生活在这里。到上世纪19世纪末,只有一少部分野牛因在边境的另一边,幸免于美国狩人的猎杀,能够安然无恙的生活并幸存下来。

Before Europeans arrived in North America as many as 60m buffalo are estimated to have ranged across the Great Plains. From around 1830, however, they were systematically killed until only a handful remained. Buffalo were taken for their hides, or simply because they were getting in the way of settlers. Men like Buffalo Bill slaughtered thousands.
在欧洲人进入北美之前,估计有6000万头野牛分布于美洲大平原。从大约1830年起,它们就被有组织的捕猎,只有一小部分幸存了下来。当时,人们捕杀野牛的原因很简单,因为捕杀野牛可以获得野牛皮,或者仅仅是因为有些移民认为野牛妨碍了他们而杀掉它们,像类似于野牛比尔这样的屠杀者数以千计。

At the end there was also a deliberate policy of wiping out the lumbering giants in order to remove the staple food source of Native Americans and to force them on to reservations. Last week’s buffalo homecoming was an emotional event for the Gros Ventre and Salish-Kootenai tribes who witnessed it.
最后,为驱逐美洲原住民,当时的政府出台政策,鼓励人们杀掉这些动作缓慢的大型动物,阻断原住民的主要食物来源,从而迫使他们搬到到保留区去。上周,美国怀俄明州格若斯维崔和蒙大拿萨利希库特奈部落见证了美洲野牛的回乡之旅,对于他们来说,心情百感交集。

Ultimately it is logic and enormous ambition that lie behind the return of the buffalo to Montana. The idea, says Sean Gerrity, president of the American Prairie Reserve (APR), a charity, is to create the largest wildlife reserve anywhere in the contiguous 48 states. Mr Gerrity wants to rebuild a vast native prairie of 3.6m acres (9.9m hectares) where an enormous herd of wild buffalo can roam free once again.
暨野牛回归蒙大拿活动之后,有一个更合乎自然逻辑和更为雄心勃勃的想法。这个想法,按照美国慈善组织--美国草原保护区协会主席肖恩.盖瑞蒂的说法,就是要创建一个遍布各地并将48个州连成一体的最大的野生保护区。盖瑞蒂先生想再造一个360万英亩(990万公顷)大的天然大草原,在那里,大群的野牛能再次自由的漫步、奔跑。

Recreating America’s version of Africa’s Serengeti means thinking big. A sustainable ecosystem needs to be able to cope with fires, disease and icing over of parts of the ground in the winter. But such a reserve would be of international significance. Grasslands, which are economically valuable as farmland, are enormously underrepresented in nature reserves in America and worldwide. Temperate grasslands have the lowest level of protection of the world’s 14 recognised biomes, or habitats.
打造美国版的非洲塞伦盖蒂大平原需要考虑很多事情。需要建立一个能应对火灾、疾病以及冬季局部寒冷气候的可持续的生态系统。但是,建立这样的一个野生保护区将具有国际性的重大意义。从经济层面上讲,草原的价值决不低于农田,但在世界各地以及美国,草原没有得到应有的重视,正大量的减少。在世界14个受保护的生物群落和栖息地中,温带草地的保护水平最低。

APR is currently spending about $6m a year, largely on land. By autumn it will own or lease 270,000 acres. One of the first jobs APR has to do when it obtains land is to remove the fences. A single ranch can easily have more than 800 miles of barriers. APR will ultimately be able to stitch together a network of private and public land to create its reserve. But even though the land is cheap, at around $450 an acre, APR will need $330m to set up the reserve and a further $120m for an endowment to maintain it and pay for grazing rights.
目前,美国草原保护区协会每年投入大约600万美元,主要用于购买土地。到今年秋天,该组织将通过购买或者租赁的方式获得270,000英亩土地。拿到地以后,首先要做的工作其中之一就是去掉围栏。一个农场一般都会有超过800里长的栅栏。该协会最终将把私有土地和公共的土地连成一片,建立起自己的保护区。但是即便土地很便宜,按照大约1亩450美元来计算,美国草原保护区协会要建立起保护区仍将需要330万美元;此外,为了维持草原和支付放牧费,该协会还需要另外筹集120万元的资金才行。

Buying land in eastern Montana is not difficult. Thanks to its lack of water, ranching in the area is hard work, often marginal and increasingly unpopular with the children of ranchers. Those ranches that are still in business are in effect subsidised by the government, which charges grazing fees of just $1.35 a month for each cow on federal land.
购买土地在蒙大拿州东部并不难。由于缺乏雨水,经营牧场是一件很辛苦的事,越来越多的牧场主后代对此并不感兴趣,牧场经营业务正逐渐被边缘化。那些还在维持经营的牧场是因为有了政府的补贴才得以继续,当地政府对于本州土地上的每只牛,按照每月仅仅1.35美元来征收放牧费。

In only 14 years from now, thanks largely to the buffalo’s natural fecundity, APR will have over 5,000 buffalo, the largest conservation herd on the planet. Significantly, this herd will be entirely free of cattle genes—unlike most existing buffalo herds in America, which have interbred with domestic cattle. Officially, the American buffalo is now a type of livestock. But one day, if Mr Gerrity gets his way, his buffalo will be declared wild animals again.
由于野牛的自然繁殖能力很强,只需要14年,美国草原保护区协会将拥有超过5000头野牛,成为全球最大的野牛自然保护区。更为重要的是,这个群体将完全是纯种野生基因,而非像美国现存的许多野牛群,是与驯养的家牛杂交的后代。在美国官方看来,现在的美洲野牛实际上就是家牛的一种,但是如果盖瑞蒂先生的方法可行,那么有一天,他的野牛将会被官方重新认可为野生野牛。

Part of the restoration project requires the return of another crucial species: the prairie dog. This dog is actually a small ground squirrel that forms large underground colonies. More important, it is the Chicken McNugget of the prairie—a convenient snack food for almost every creature, from burrowing owls and ferruginous hawks to foxes and even wolves.
完成回归计划还需要一个重要的环节,那就是另外一个决定性物种的回归:草原野狗。这个狗实际上是一种较小的地面松鼠,它们能够在地下建造一个地下世界。更重要的是,它就像是草原的麦乐鸡,一种几乎可以为各种草原动物提供的方便小吃,从穴鸮和铁鹰到狐狸,甚至狼。

Prairie dogs are hated by ranchers, who say their burrows pose a danger to cattle. So they are poisoned on a large scale. APR is in the early stages of developing a wildlife-friendly label for beef produced on ranches that are friendly to such prairie wildlife. In many parts of the world, such labels allow producers to command premiums for their produce.
农场主们憎恨草原野狗,因为他们认为野狗们的洞穴会对牛构成威胁,所以对它们进行了大规模的毒杀。在早些时候,对那些友善对待这种草原野生动物的农场,美国草原保护区协会为他们的牛肉产品发放野生动物友好型标记。在世界的许多地方,拥有这样的标记,意味着生产商们可以对其产品提高价格。

Mr Gerrity says that the reserve will take decades to complete. But one day, he says, Americans will be able to come on safari in their own country and roam across the prairies, unencumbered by fences, to view abundance rather than emptiness.
盖瑞蒂先生说,建造保护区需要花上几十年的时间才能完成。但是他说,希望有一天,美国人能跨越大草原而不受到任何围栏的阻碍,在他们自己的国家自由的旅行,看到丰富而多样的世界而非空洞贫瘠的旷野。

When the explorers Lewis and Clark arrived in Montana in 1805 they found more wildlife than they had seen in any other part of their journey; elk, antelope, deer, beavers and grizzly bears. The buffalo came in gangues of tens of thousands. Restoring the abundance seen by early explorers, and with nothing more than private money, is a worthy gift to any nation.
1805年,当探险者刘易斯和克拉克抵达蒙大纳时,他们发现了很多野生动物,有麋鹿、羚羊、鹿、海狸和灰熊,比他们以往旅途中所到过的每个地方都多。数以万计的野牛进入蒙大拿州。对任何国家来说,利用私人资金,恢复早期探险者所看见的丰富而多样的世界,是一件极具价值的事情。

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重点单词
  • ultimatelyadv. 最后,最终
  • grazingn. 牧草;放牧 v. 擦过;抓伤(graze的现在分词
  • stitchn. 一针,疼痛,碎布条 v. 缝合
  • enormousadj. 巨大的,庞大的
  • unpopularadj. 不流行的,不受欢迎的
  • conservationn. 保存,防止流失,守恒,保护自然资源
  • unencumberedadj. 没有阻碍的;没有负担的;不受妨碍的
  • corraln. 畜栏 vt. 赶入,围住,聚集
  • marginaladj. 边际的,末端的,仅以微弱多数获胜的,微小的
  • domesticadj. 国内的,家庭的,驯养的 n. 家仆,佣人