NASA’s history is filled with both amazing successes and tragic
In 1910, Frederick Burnham and Robert Broussard proposed a plan to import Hippos into the USA to eventually be made into “Lake Cow Bacon”. But Burnham’s vision did not stop at Hippos – far from it! His bizarre yet well-considered plan was to import ‘useful’ African animals to whichever US state suited them best, e.g. Louisiana swamps for warthogs, New Mexico deserts for Giraffes. His 1910 article in the New York Independent set out his idea to turn the USA into one big happy hunting ground. It seems incredible today, but here are his direct quotes on the various animals he wanted to see roaming freely around America.
Giraffe: “Its flesh is very palatable and its hide extremely tough and serviceable…. would thrive from the borders of Nevada to Texas, and far into Mexico.”
Eland: “can go great distances from water, and would help stock many an arid range if given the chance, on our cliffs and mountains he would think he was again in his own Rhodesia or Transvaal.”
Warthog: “Mr. Warthog, big and ugly, would be quite happy and most useful in the everglades or swamps of the South.”
Birds: “Flamingo, Plover, Frankholins, Cranes, Herons, and certainly the Royal Bustard, could be introduced through all our southern lands very profitably. The Ostrich would be quite at home in Arizona and New Mexico”.
Cape Buffalo: “Might be considered too fierce for the rising generation to play with. Anyone hunting him will not complain of a dull time. Its flesh is very good eating and its hide much better than that of an ox.”
Zebra: “Would dot our plains with color if we gave it the chance, though, from experience, I do not think it a valuable animal either to work or ride and its hide does not make a leather of any value. Its flesh is good to eat, and it is one of the most beautiful of all the game animals.”
Dick-Dick: “is easily tamed, and its flesh is of delicate flavor. In South Africa it goes by the name of Noseouck, as its upper lip is prehensile, though it is a true antelope. It would thrive certainly on the cactus patches in our Southwest.”
His bill H.R. 23261 said its aim was: “to appropriate $250,000 for the importation of useful new animals.” Although supported by many big names including President Roosevelt, it did not come to pass. You can read the whole story in John Mooallem’s American Hippopotamus: