Nov 9, 2007

DEFRA to ban invasive exotic plants and animals

A new attempt is to be made to protect native British wildlife from predatory foreign invaders. Invasive exotic plants and animals pose the second greatest threat to wildlife worldwide after habitat destruction. They can spread disease, out compete and even eat native flora and fauna.

Now the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) says it is ready to ban the sale of some of the worst exotic culprits who pose the biggest threat to native species if they escape into the wild. These include the American Bullfrog, a number of Crayfish species, Floating Pennywort and the Water Hyacinth.

Invasive species can cause massive problems for our native plants and animals and costs the British economy an estimated £2bn per year. And once established the invaders can cost millions of pounds to put right. For example, £1.56bn has been spent trying to get rid of the Japanese Knotweed, a plant species that can cause serious damage to property if it becomes established.

More than 70 species will be added to the list of non-native birds, fish, animals and plants under schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. They include the Rosy-Faced Lovebird, Grass Carp, Water Fern and Virginia Creeper while seven animal species, including the Mongolian Gerbil and the Himalayan Porcupine, will be removed because they are no longer found in the wild. Some of the species have been added because of their potential to cause damage if they were to become widespread. Link


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