Don’t turn your pets into invasive species!
Last night I attended a meeting run by our local reptile and amphibian group, for which I have recently been elected as secretary. We touched briefly on the topic of invasive species, specifically herptiles, but it made me think again about how important this subject is, especially in relation to the conservation of our native fauna and flora.
Alien species can have a detrimental effect on our native wildlife whether it is through competition (i.e. the alien species out-competing the native for food resources, territory etc), predation or the spread of disease. Consequently this results in a considerable amount of time and money being spent on trying to control or eradicate the invasive species when these resources are needed elsewhere.
Invasive species have found their way into the UK through a variety of means but one source, which should be easier to control through increased awareness, is the release of exotic pets into the wild. Many people find that they are unable to look after their exotic pet and believe it is kinder to ‘release them into the wild’ even if ‘the wild’ is not their native habitat. This can have unfortunate consequences for the pet in question if they are not able to adapt but more importantly the long-term effects on the native environment can be disastrous. Further information on non-native species in the UK can be obtained from the Non-Native Species Secretariat .
When it comes to exotic pets please re-home, don’t release!
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