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Thoughts on Invasive Species

August 13, 2014

Many times exotic plants and animals are brought into the US as ornamental plants or household pets. As long as these species are maintained and contained the side effects are minimal. However, when landscaping is let go and household pets are released into the wild, an invasive specie is created. What defines a species as invasive? Simply put it is a non-native species with no enemies or natural bio-controls. These species reproduce rapidly and their populations can grow exponentially. New species are classified as invasive every year. Not only are these exotic species brought into the US intentionally, but sometimes they are brought in unintentionally with imported goods. An example of this is the Emerald Ash Borer. This insect is native to Asia and is suspected to have been introduced to the US from overseas shipping materials. The US Customs Agency has strict policies and procedures in place to reduce the risk of exotic species being imported into the US. Sometimes a designated quarantine period is necessary to make sure goods are pest free.

So what can we do to help with this epidemic? 1. When traveling outside the US don’t bring banned produce, biomass, or animals home with you. 2. Do not buy pets from non registered pet stores. 3. If your exotic pet gets to hard to care for, take it to an animal shelter or have your veterinarian euthanize it. Do not release it into the wild. 4. Familiarize yourself with invasive plant species and report sitings to the state department. 5. Make sure not to transport or transplant invasive plant species no matter how beautiful they are.

With the help of government and industry organizations plus general public awareness we can slow down the spread of current invasive species. And quite possibly halt the addition of new ones.

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