Wildlife

Costly Invasive Species

Invasive (non native) species are an ecological and financial burden. According to a recent study by the international scientific organisation CABI, invasive species cost the Scottish, British and Welsh governments over £1.7 billion ($2.63 billion US dollars) each year.

The Scottish government reports that five case studies, including the grey squirrel and long-horned beetle, were used to assess the benefits of species control spending. These cases suggest that the key to success is prevention, as the cost of management soars once species have become established in an area.

Rabbit 3For instance, the Guardian explains that the invasive water weed primrose will presently cost £73,000 ($112,900 US) to eradicate in Britain, compared to the estimated £242m ($375 US) it would cost if the weeds were to become widely established as they have in France. Currently, the most costly invasive species in the United Kingdom include rabbits (£263m [$407m US] a year), Japanese knotweed (£179m [$277m US]), wild oat (£100m [$155m US]) and the Rat (£62m [$95m US]). Rabbits have thrived for over 2,000 years as invasive guests in Britain and are a detriment to infrastructure, crops and other species.

Taking early action is most effective, saves money and preserves native wildlife for the longer term. Although it can be costly, it is vital that steps are taken to protect the economy and ecosystems threatened by non-native plants and animals. If we do not get to the root of the problem, it will multiply like rabbits!

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