Josh Gelernter makes the suggestion:
So, overhunting did in our ancestral American elephants. Just as it did in our bison. But our bison are back. Why not bring back the elephants?
In the 1980s, when political strife threatened Africa’s Jews, Israel airlifted them, en masse, to Israel. Far be it from me to compare (my fellow) Jews to elephants; this isn’t a perfect metaphor. But airlifting some elephants to our National Parks System would solve some big problems.
The species could be saved. African elephants aren’t doing well; Asian elephants are on their last legs. And America needs elephants: They don’t always do well in zoos, and captive breeding is far below the rate of replacement.
We have climates for elephants — in the southwestern desert, the southeastern forests, and the great plains in between. We have the space, and I don’t doubt we have the required enthusiasm; Americans love animals. Carefully and selectively introducing elephants to these United States might seem like a radical notion, but in the end, the choice will boil down to this: We can let elephants dwindle toward extinction, or we can watch herds of them sweep across the fruited plain.