Invasive Species

ramonmercado

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Not just crowding out native plants but also increasing the risk of wildfires.

No one likes a cheater, especially one that prospers as easily as the grass Bromus tectorum does in the American West.

This invasive species is called cheatgrass because it dries out earlier than native plants, shortchanging wildlife and livestock in search of nutritious food.

Unfortunately for those animals and the crowded-out native plants, cheatgrass and several other invasive annual grasses now dominate one-fifth of the Great Basin, a wide swath of land that includes portions of Oregon, Nevada, Idaho, Utah and California. In 2020, these invasive grasses covered more than 77,000 square kilometers of Great Basin ecosystems, including higher elevation habitats that are now accessible to nonnative plants due to climate change, researchers report November 17 in Diversity and Distributions.

This invasion of exotic annual grasses is degrading one of North America’s most imperiled biomes: a vast sea of sagebrush shrubs, wildflowers and bunchgrasses where pronghorn and mule deer roam and where ranchers rely on healthy rangelands to raise cattle.

What’s more, these invasive grasses, which are highly flammable when dry, are also linked to more frequent and larger wildfires. In parts of Idaho’s Snake River Plain that are dominated by cheatgrass, for example, fires now occur every three to five years as opposed to the historical average of 60 to 110 years. From 2000 to 2009, 39 out of 50 of the largest fires in the Great Basin were associated with cheatgrass.

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/invasive-grasses-spread-wildfire-plants
 

ramonmercado

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Watch out for the invaders

A national campaign to arm the public with knowledge of invasive species has been launched after an increase of 183% from 1961 to 2010 in Ireland.

The Leave No Trace Ireland campaign has partnered with Waterways Ireland, the National Biodiversity Data Centre, Inland Fisheries Ireland, and the Marine Institute, as well as water sporting bodies throughout the Republic and the North, to warn about the impact of invasive species.

The impact has caused about €2.5bn in damage to the UK and Ireland annually, according to 2013 research, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage said as the campaign launched.
According to Invasive Species Ireland (ISI), creatures not native to ecosystems are the second greatest threat to biodiversity worldwide, after habitat destruction.
Invasive species can negatively impact on native species, transforming habitats and threatening whole ecosystems, causing serious problems to the environment and the economy, ISI said.
Since the 17th century, invasive species have contributed to nearly 40% of all animal extinctions for which the cause is known, according to the ISI.

https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-40788582.html
 

ramonmercado

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Bloody tourists coming here and bringing spiders, mites, snails and plants with them.

Tourists and returning residents may be contributing to the plague of invasive species in countries like Ireland, inadvertently bringing in harmful species in luggage and footwear, new research suggests.

A study examined the likes of insects, spiders, mites, snails, plants, and roundworms being reported at accommodation in New Zealand and researchers found what they called a "significant correlation".

Dr Andrew Robinson of the Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis at the University of Melbourne and Mark McNeill of AgResearch New Zealand found that the number of nights spent in hotels and the detection of invasive species had a direct relationship.

The researchers said: "Between-country tourism is established as a facilitator of the spread of invasive alien species; however, little attention has been paid to the question of whether tourism contributes to the arrival and subsequent dispersal of exotic organisms within national borders. We suggest that this study provides conditional evidence that international tourism contributes to the introduction of exotic organism, and within-country movement of both international and domestic tourists aids the secondary dispersal of exotic organisms."

https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-40807074.html
 

maximus otter

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Bloody tourists coming here and bringing spiders, mites, snails and plants with them.

Tourists and returning residents may be contributing to the plague of invasive species in countries like Ireland, inadvertently bringing in harmful species in luggage and footwear, new research suggests.

A study examined the likes of insects, spiders, mites, snails, plants, and roundworms being reported at accommodation in New Zealand and researchers found what they called a "significant correlation".

Dr Andrew Robinson of the Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis at the University of Melbourne and Mark McNeill of AgResearch New Zealand found that the number of nights spent in hotels and the detection of invasive species had a direct relationship.

The researchers said: "Between-country tourism is established as a facilitator of the spread of invasive alien species; however, little attention has been paid to the question of whether tourism contributes to the arrival and subsequent dispersal of exotic organisms within national borders. We suggest that this study provides conditional evidence that international tourism contributes to the introduction of exotic organism, and within-country movement of both international and domestic tourists aids the secondary dispersal of exotic organisms."

https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-40807074.html

You defo don’t want the kind of tourists who’d bring in roundworm. Euw!

maximus otter
 

ramonmercado

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Will they be easier to catch seeing as they glow?

Fish genetically engineered to glow blue, green, or red under blacklight have been a big hit among aquarium lovers for years.

But the fluorescent pet is not restricted to glass displays anymore. The red- and green-glowing versions of the modified zebrafish have escaped fish farms in southeastern Brazil and are multiplying in creeks in the Atlantic Forest, a new study shows. It is a rare example of a transgenic animal accidentally becoming established in nature, and a concern for biologists, who worry the exotic fish could threaten the local fauna in one of the most biodiverse spots on the planet.

“This is serious,” says ecologist Jean Vitule at the Federal University of Paraná, Curitiba. Vitule, who was not part of the research, says the ecological impacts are unpredictable. He worries, for example, that the fluorescence-endowing genes from the escapees could end up being introduced in native fish with detrimental effects, perhaps making them more visible to predators. “It’s like a shot in the dark,” he says.

https://www.science.org/content/article/transgenic-glowing-fish-invades-brazilian-streams
 

ramonmercado

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Recognising reality.

The Colombian government is planning to declare that a herd of hippopotamuses descended from animals imported illegally by drug lord Pablo Escobar in the 1980s are an exotic invasive species.

People from the town of Puerto Triunfo have grown accustomed to living near the herd, and many are opposed to any measures to control the population.

Within weeks, the government plans to sign the declaration, meaning it must come up with a plan for how to control the hippo population, which has reached 130 and is projected hit 400 within eight years.

Among the strategies being debated are castration, sterilisation or even a cull.

https://www.irishexaminer.com/world/arid-40811817.html
 

Endlessly Amazed

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Recognising reality.

The Colombian government is planning to declare that a herd of hippopotamuses descended from animals imported illegally by drug lord Pablo Escobar in the 1980s are an exotic invasive species.

People from the town of Puerto Triunfo have grown accustomed to living near the herd, and many are opposed to any measures to control the population.

Within weeks, the government plans to sign the declaration, meaning it must come up with a plan for how to control the hippo population, which has reached 130 and is projected hit 400 within eight years.

Among the strategies being debated are castration, sterilisation or even a cull.

https://www.irishexaminer.com/world/arid-40811817.html
Hippo tacos comes to mind.
 

maximus otter

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People from the town of Puerto Triunfo have grown accustomed to living near the herd, and many are opposed to any measures to control the population.

Until the population reaches a critical level:

"[Africa] is filled with animals that are deadly to human beings, like lions, crocodiles, leopards, cape buffalo, rhinos and many many more. But what animal are the most human fatalities attributed to in Africa…the hippopotamus. Although they are mostly herbivorous, they are highly aggressive and are regarded as one of the most dangerous animals in Africa. They have been known to attack without provocation, even to the point of destroying entire vehicles. Around 2,900 people are killed every year by hippos.

Hippopotamuses are very aggressive animals; in fact, they are considered one of the most aggressive animals in the world."

https://greatamericanoutdoors.com/2...y-hippos-than-any-other-animal-and-heres-why/

maximus otter
 

maximus otter

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Feral pigs are biological time bombs. Can California stem their ‘exponential’ damage?


SAN JOSE — Dana Page is no cold-blooded killer. She loves animals, sunshine and public lands.

But Page says “depredation” must be part of the toolkit to prevent wild pigs from ripping up Santa Clara County’s parks, tearing up lawns, fouling rivers and reservoirs, and killing native fauna such as red-legged frogs and California tiger salamanders.

“It’s hard to sit back and watch the destruction,” said Page, natural resource program coordinator for Santa Clara County Parks.

California’s feral pig population has become a monumental headache for government land managers, farmers, homeowners, conservation biologists and water district officials.

Feral pigs are like roving rototillers, using their snouts and hooves to unearth dirt-dwelling insect larvae and eat acorns, invertebrates, eggs, small mammals and plants. Their feeding patterns not only cause enormous ecological damage, but the end product — their poop — poses an even further threat. These generously sized mammals — adults range from 150 to 500 pounds — are known to spread more than 30 infectious diseases, 20 of which can be transmitted to humans, including leptospirosis, toxoplasmosis and tularemia.

In 2006, food safety officials pointed to feral swine as causing an E. coli outbreak in spinach from Salinas Valley. And water regulators and engineers are wary about the pigs contaminating reservoirs and rivers, as well.

Nationwide, wild hogs also inflicted harm more directly — by injuring, and in rare instances, killing people.

https://www.latimes.com/california/...s-ravage-california-wildlands-suburbs-hunting

maximus otter
 

ramonmercado

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Feral pigs are biological time bombs. Can California stem their ‘exponential’ damage?


SAN JOSE — Dana Page is no cold-blooded killer. She loves animals, sunshine and public lands.

But Page says “depredation” must be part of the toolkit to prevent wild pigs from ripping up Santa Clara County’s parks, tearing up lawns, fouling rivers and reservoirs, and killing native fauna such as red-legged frogs and California tiger salamanders.

“It’s hard to sit back and watch the destruction,” said Page, natural resource program coordinator for Santa Clara County Parks.

California’s feral pig population has become a monumental headache for government land managers, farmers, homeowners, conservation biologists and water district officials.

Feral pigs are like roving rototillers, using their snouts and hooves to unearth dirt-dwelling insect larvae and eat acorns, invertebrates, eggs, small mammals and plants. Their feeding patterns not only cause enormous ecological damage, but the end product — their poop — poses an even further threat. These generously sized mammals — adults range from 150 to 500 pounds — are known to spread more than 30 infectious diseases, 20 of which can be transmitted to humans, including leptospirosis, toxoplasmosis and tularemia.

In 2006, food safety officials pointed to feral swine as causing an E. coli outbreak in spinach from Salinas Valley. And water regulators and engineers are wary about the pigs contaminating reservoirs and rivers, as well.

Nationwide, wild hogs also inflicted harm more directly — by injuring, and in rare instances, killing people.

https://www.latimes.com/california/...s-ravage-california-wildlands-suburbs-hunting

maximus otter

They also attack doughnut shops.
 

ramonmercado

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Disease bearing Alpine newt travels a long way to Tipperary.

A species of alpine newt which has been found in three counties in Ireland is not considered an invasive species, according to minister of state Malcolm Noonan.

Mr Noonan was responding to a parliamentary question from Sinn Féin TD Sorca Clarke, who asked the minister if he will report on the development of a new national invasive species management plan, considering that the alpine newt has been found in Ireland.

Mr Noonan said that the development of a national invasive alien species management plan is a priority for his department and work is underway.
“The National Parks and Wildlife Service will report to me in the coming weeks with updates on progress in this matter,” he added.
Mr Noonan went on to say that the alpine newt is not listed as an invasive species in Ireland.
Threat
According to Rob Gandola, senior science officer at the Herpetological Society of Ireland (HSI), the threat that these newts carry is due to a disease called chytrid.

“Alpine newts are known to be vectors of two particularly nasty fungi (chytrid), which attack amphibians all over the world now. Native species can be susceptible to these fungi,” said Mr Gandola.

According to Mr Gandola, there are four separate groups of these newts found in Ireland, two in Down, one in Tipperary, and one in Offaly.

https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-40847516.html
 

ramonmercado

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A plague of coypus and other invasive species.

How did huge South American rodents come to be in Ireland?

In 2016, sightings began in the waterways of County Cork of what appeared to be a metre-long rat with large orange teeth. The coypu is a rodent native to South America, but has since spread to North America and parts of Europe. It is also one of several invasive species in Ireland seen as a threat to the local habitat.

Although there may be some excitement to see such exotic species in the Irish countryside, coypu are viewed as pests. The animals feed on aquatic vegetation, including rare and threatened species, undermine the banks of rivers through burrowing and can also feed on agricultural crops.

In 2016, Ireland's National Biodiversity Centre received a report of a suspected muskrat and a photograph of two animals which turned out to be coypus. Within a month, 10 of the animals had been captured from the Curraheen area just outside Cork city.

Colette O'Flynn, from the National Biodiversity Data Centre, said a year or two before the Cork sightings there had been an agricultural show in the area from which a coypu had gone missing, but which had not been reported.

"Either it was a pregnant female or more than one was released, we don't know," she said. "Following this, there was a one-month intensive trapping period and the general public was alerted and urged to report sightings."

Coypus were seen in other parts of the city and other parts of the county, while two animals were removed from counties Tipperary and Limerick.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-61645726
 

EnolaGaia

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Giant African land snails have re-emerged as an unwanted invasive species in Florida. The suspected origin of this outbreak involves a religious group importing them so they could drink the snails' mucus.
Look out, Pasco: Here come giant African land snails

The giant African land snail gobbles up plants and can carry a parasite known to give people meningitis, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

The state last week confirmed the sighting. The snail was found in the New Port Richey area. The agency said it would start putting snail bait on properties within about 600 feet of where the snail was spotted.

The snails can grow to be about the size of a fist, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They eat many plants, including peas, beans and cucumbers. But if they can’t find enough vegetation, the federal agency says, giant African land snails will eat paint or stucco off a house.

They can also lay more than 1,000 eggs in a year. ...

Giant African land snails spread around South Florida in the late 1960s and early 1970s, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Getting rid of them cost $1 million and took several years. ...

The snails were found again in Miami-Dade County in 2011 ... , and were only declared eradicated last year. Removing them entailed destroying more than 168,000 snails and countless eggs ... The work cost about $24 million ...

Investigators believed that outbreak began when a religious leader and his followers smuggled snails into the United States. He reportedly encouraged them to drink the snails’ mucus. ...
FULL STORY: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/look-out-pasco-here-come-giant-african-land-snails/ar-AAZ1NL4
 

Mythopoeika

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Giant African land snails have re-emerged as an unwanted invasive species in Florida. The suspected origin of this outbreak involves a religious group importing them so they could drink the snails' mucus.
Ewww, no. :puke2:
 

EnolaGaia

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A Polish scientific institute has outraged cat owners / lovers by formally designating cats as an "invasive alien species."
Polish institute classifies cats as alien invasive species

A Polish scientific institute has classified domestic cats as an “invasive alien species,” citing the damage they cause to birds and other wildlife.

Some cat lovers have reacted emotionally to this month’s decision and put the key scientist behind it on the defensive.

Wojciech Solarz, a biologist at the state-run Polish Academy of Sciences, wasn’t prepared for the disapproving public response when he entered “Felis catus,” the scientific name for the common house cat, into a national database run by the academy’s Institute of Nature Conservation.

The database already had 1,786 other species listed with no objections, Solarz told The Associated Press on Tuesday. ...

Solarz described the growing scientific consensus that domestic cats have a harmful impact on biodiversity given the number of birds and mammals they hunt and kill. ...

The criteria for including the cat among alien invasive species, “are 100% met by the cat,” he said. ...
FULL STORY: https://apnews.com/article/science-poland-wildlife-cats-birds-b942a55135832d085375de73c9cc2e23
 

JahaRa

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The most invasive plants in my area are bermuda grass, elm trees and bind weed. Bind weed is native, I think, but the other two have come from people moving to the area. In the 50's people decided that there needed to be better shade trees so the city of Albuquerque bought chinese elm trees because they were fast growing and impossible to kill, not drought resistant though, instead invasive. For decades any time someone had a sewer issue it was elm roots. So now it is illegal to plant them but the city won't or can't make people who already have them get rid of them. So every spring the wind blows all the elm seeds (thousands per tree) all over the city and if they aren't swept up, burned or removed somehow they grow in to more elm trees that are very hard to get rid of. It is way too much work.

Bermuda grass is drought resistant but when there is water it will take over and kill almost everything. And the roots are so deep it is very difficult to get rid of. No one should have ever thought they needed a lawn in the desert!
 

ramonmercado

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A Polish scientific institute has outraged cat owners / lovers by formally designating cats as an "invasive alien species."

FULL STORY: https://apnews.com/article/science-poland-wildlife-cats-birds-b942a55135832d085375de73c9cc2e23

i'm organising a protest at the Polish Embassy! eE'll have shoulder launched cats!

catukraine.png
 

Ronnie Jersey

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ramonmercado

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Bullfrog Blues.

Scientists tallying the economic damage wrought by invasive pests across the world found two species are responsible for more harm than any other.

The American bullfrog and brown tree snake have collectively caused $16.3bn (£13.4bn) in global damage since 1986. In addition to ecological harm, the invasive pair have ruined farm crops and triggered costly power outages.

Researchers hope their findings will encourage more investment to help block invasive species in the future. Writing in Scientific Reports, the scientists held the brown tree snake as singlehandedly responsible for $10.3bn worth of damage in total - partly by spreading uncontrollably across several Pacific islands.

In Guam, where the reptile was accidentally introduced by US marines last century, the snake's sheer present-day population causes mass power cuts because they slither over electrical wires and cause expensive damage.

More than two million brown tree snakes populate the tiny Pacific island, with one estimate calculating as many as 20 inhabitants per acre of Guam's jungle.

Island ecosystems are thought to be more vulnerable to invasive species - where they pose a greater threat of extinction to native animals and fauna.

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-62342698
 

ramonmercado

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Return of the death's-head hawkmoth caterpillars

It's probably best known to many of us thanks to the classic horror film Silence of the Lambs.


The death's-head hawkmoth caterpillar is also a rare sight in the UK.
So Sharon and Ian Williams were amazed to find the outsize beasts "devouring" their shrubs in south Wales. Ian put photos of them on social media and got so many responses that he jokes he's now an expert on the caterpillar - and the movie star moth that emerges from it with a skull shape on its back.

In Silence of the Lambs, the moths are used as a calling card by serial killer Buffalo Bill. They also feature on the poster for the 1991 multi-Oscar winning film, including best picture and best actor for Welshman Sir Anthony Hopkins for his portrayal of another serial killer, Hannibal Lecter.

Caterpillar
IMAGE SOURCE, IAN WILLIAMS Image caption, The impressive caterpillars have now disappeared from the couple's garden​


Which must have all seemed a long way away from Sharon and Ian's back garden in Brynmenyn, Bridgend.

Sharon was the first to spot the insect while tending to the bushes in their garden.
"I was in the kitchen and I heard a scream, my wife was actually cutting this bush in our garden back," said Mr Williams."That's when we discovered it, it was lucky it didn't get cut in half," he added.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-62521334
 

ramonmercado

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Extreme measures.

Army Corps of Engineers electrifies Illinois lock to keep Asian Carp out of Lake Michigan​


Multiple stakeholders are applying efforts to keep Asian Carp from affecting the Great Lakes estimated 7 billion dollar fishery industry.

The recommended plan involves a layered system of structural and non-structural control measures. Structural measures include technologies such as a flushing lock, an engineered channel with electric barrier, underwater acoustic deterrent, air bubble curtain and an automated barge clearing deterrent. Non-structural measures, implemented in conjunction with other federal agencies, could include public education and outreach, monitoring, integrated pest management, pesticides, manual or mechanical removal, and research and development.

https://boingboing.net/2022/08/24/a...-to-keep-asian-carp-out-of-lake-michigan.html
 

ramonmercado

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Beware of the invasive false widow spiders.

Invasive false widow spiders are up to 230 times more poisonous than domestic Irish species, according to new research that helps explain their rapid spread throughout Ireland.

The findings shed light on the spider’s dominance – not only is its venom far more potent than any common northern European spider, but it can adapt its attacking behaviour to prevail in different “battle scenarios”. Exactly what this might mean for the survival of other species has yet to be determined.

The research was conducted by scientists at the Ryan Institute in NUI Galway and published in the international journal Toxins.

The false widow, or steatoda nobilis, which is originally from from Madeira and the Canary Islands, has spread rapidly in Ireland in recent years.


Its bite usually has a similar effect on humans as a bee sting but can often lead to more serious injury, sometimes requiring hospital treatment.

The strength of its poison, researchers say, helps explain how it tackles a range of much larger creatures including other spiders, lizards and even bats.

https://www.irishtimes.com/ireland/...s-more-poisonous-than-domestic-irish-species/
 

ramonmercado

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Now they're biting babies!

A mother whose baby was bitten by a noble false widow spider has urged people to be aware of the dangers of the invasive species.

Sarah Jane Dennelly was speaking after a study revealed that the venom from false widow spiders is 230 times stronger than native Irish spiders.

Scientists from NUI Galway's Ryan Institute found the false widow can also adapt its attacking behaviour. It can win battles against other spiders as well as shrews and bats. Now the research team in Galway intends to study what effect the invasive species is having on native spiders.

The false widow is said to have a bite on a par with a wasp's sting. But some people can have very strong reactions to its venom.

Ms Dennehy's 15-week-old son, Charlie, was bitten at their home in Shanagarry, County Cork, in the Republic of Ireland.

He became so ill that he had to be treated at the emergency department at the local hospital. His mother said the incident was traumatising.

"Charlie was lying on his mat and all of a sudden he went apocalyptic - he had a real bout of purple screaming," she said. "I stripped off his trousers and his lower left leg was swollen, it was bright red and there were three bites. Then I stripped off his top and a noble false widow spider crawled out from behind his ear."

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-62721881
 

ramonmercado

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Hunting invasive lionfish.

Rachel Bowman is a diver who specializes in the hunting, catching, and killing of lionfish, a species native to Indo-Pacific waters.

Off the coast of Indonesia or Australia, an adult typically grows to about twelve inches; groupers, eels, and sharks are its natural predators, and in many countries divers cannot spear one without a permit. Lionfish have also long been popular in aquariums. Tens of thousands of American homes have them in saltwater tanks. Lionfish spend their days hovering in the water, which makes them particularly well suited to the job of being looked at. They are also striking, with shimmery white bodies overlaid with bold red or orange stripes, a Mohawk of spikes on their backs, and clashing patterns on their fins and faces. They look at once sleek and tacky. Bowman, who is forty-three, recalls that, in 2012, “when I first saw one, I thought it was a fish dressed up for Mardi Gras.” She wasn’t staring through aquarium glass, though, or diving off Japan. She was in the waters of the Florida Keys, a few miles from where she lives.

At some point in the past half century, somewhere in the warmer latitudes of the Western Hemisphere, lionfish jumped from aquariums to natural salt water. The first recorded sighting was in 1985, off Dania Beach, just north of Miami. Lionfish have succeeded mightily in their new environment—there are now many millions of them in the Western Atlantic—and this is bad news: they are destructive to native species, devouring other sea creatures and upending the equilibrium of reef life. Although there is an obvious conservation benefit to eliminating lionfish, Bowman does not think of herself primarily as an environmentalist. She sees her targets as invaders, and considers it her job to repel them. “What you’re hunting isn’t prey—it’s the enemy,” she told me, adding, “Isn’t it nice to be on the side of the good guys?” She also appreciates the fact that there are no regulations about lionfish killing. “No bag limits, sex limits, seasons, boat limits, gear limits,” she said. “Lionfish is the only species that is one-hundred-per-cent wide open.” Hunting them is a throwback to an era when you could go into the water and come out of it with whatever you wanted—to an era, paradoxically, before conservation measures were needed.

Lionfish divers are a close-knit community, staying in one another’s houses, trading diving stories, and amiably competing for who can kill the most fish. Their goal is a balanced, usable ecosystem: killing a lionfish saves a yellowtail snapper that, in turn, can be caught for dinner. ...

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/09/12/killing-invasive-species-is-now-a-competitive-sport
 

Cochise

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I know people love their cats but they are evil and will kill lots of things when let out to roam free for long periods. If it's a pet, it needs to be controlled.
Mainly round here they kill rats and we love them for it. Especially since we had that virtual plague of (invasive) rats when they shut the local tip.

I can see objection to invasive species that are brought in as exotic pets or for commercial farming and escape, but lets face it, most species in the UK are invasive, in that they have arrived here at various times from Europe. There are very few uniquely UK species.

The Americas and Australia / New Zealand have a different problem with totally alien species having been imported from (mostly) Europe, but to a large extent the damage is already done.
 
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