The Adorable Threat

Cats are cute, aren’t they? So are dogs, bunnies, slider turtles and pigeons (Maybe not pigeons), but there is one trait they all have in common, they have managed to dominate ecosystems they weren’t native to. They may not be the strongest, smartest or event the fastest species living on the planet but they are exceptional at adapting to their current environment. What makes an invasive species dangerous is not that they may be prolific breeders, pack hunters or even omnivores, but the fact that they lack predators in the new ecosystems, allowing their population to grow without any check. Plants too can be invasive, the Eucalyptus, that is native to the Australian Continent, was brought over to India and was widely used in mass tree plantations because it grew fast, unknowns back then it grows fast at the cost of draining out the groundwater reserves and native plants pay the price. Some invasive have invaded our cities with such a degree of success that it seems as if they were made for these landscapes, rats, pigeons, stray cats and dogs and even crows have perfectly blended into our urban landscape and can fool us into believing that they were never intruders all along.

So if how do invasive animals even become ‘invasive’?

The answer is ‘Humans’, we have been meddling with natural cycles for centuries and introducing invasive species is one such way. The story of the American Minks, introduced to Europe to boost fur trade and the Burmese python, a common ‘Exotic’ pet can only be used as warning signs because but when they are released into the wild their populations grew too big and the local fauna paid the price.

So how exactly are invasive species a threat?

Any Invasive species pose a threat to the native species as they become competitors, predators or even carriers of diseases. This can lead to the disruption of entire ecosystems and cause a cascading effect on the community that inhabits the region. Many times the damage done is irreversible.

So what can we do? The best way to fight invasive animals would be to prevent them from entering natural environments in the first place. One way to do that would be to know the plant or pet that you are purchasing is invasive or not, if yes it would be better to not purchase them But if you already have a pet that is a non-native animal it would be best to never release it into the wild. Neutering of larger animals like dogs is also a solution.

Our battle with invasive species is far from over and we don’t seem to be on the winning side. Reviewing the features of and invasive species posses makes it hard to ignore the elephant in the room;

Are we humans an invasive species?

Kayden Anthony

Programme Assistant