Invasive Species Laws

Some states are getting tough with their invasive species. Take Michigan and Hawaii, for example.

Michigan is expected to ban wildlife rehabilitation workers from helping injured mute swans, reports MLive.com.  With its distinctive orange bill, black face and black knob on its bill, the mute swan was brought in from Eurasia as an ornamental bird in the late 1800’s. Although it looks pretty, the bird is an invasive species that is destructive to habitats as well as a danger to native species and even to humans through aggressive actions. In summer, the mute swans can be spotted in large flocks that invade a lake area and devastate the lake’s aquatic food sources before moving on, leaving little for ducks and trumpeter swans.

The state’s long term goal is to reduce the number of mute swans to 2,000 birds. It makes sense. Then there’s Hawaii.

Pavo cristatusThe Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources is proposing to change legislation so that people can control and eliminate invasive species they consider pests, reports Change.org.  This can include any animal – peacocks, parrots, other birds, endangered veiled chamelions, other lizards, frogs, endangered Mouflon sheep, fish, fruit trees, cats, … even if the animal is good for the ecosystem.

If the legislation goes through, Hawaiians will no longer need permits or an environmental assessment, or endure public comment, to use chemical and biological control agents. Any number of acres of conservation and coastal lands, including the coral reefs, could be poisoned with herbicides and pesticides. Sydney Singer now has a petition against the legislation on Change.org.

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Alison Wheatley

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