Madrid, September 22 (EFE).- Hunting, fishing or pet trade are the main factors that expand the list of Invasive Alien Species (IAS) and make their detection difficult because they are mostly unknown. And many of its effects are only local
Theo Oberhuber, project coordinator for Ecologists in Action, told IFEC that “many species of fish and crustaceans have been introduced for their hunting interests and for which there is now significant economic activity around them.”
Among these species, Oberhuber highlighted the catfish, carp, Gambusia or American crayfish, which have come to displace and replace native crayfish in most of the peninsula’s rivers and lakes.
The mouflon is another case that goes unnoticed in Spain, confused with the local ibex, although its origin is Asian, and is currently the only big game species on the island of Tenerife where it was released for hunting purposes and started to establish some colonies. region
Currently, the mouflon threatens to displace the true mountain goat and the small native or native plants on which it feeds, since, as Oberhuber explains, “invasive species do much more damage and are more dangerous on islands”.
The Barbary sheep is a herbivorous bovid that was introduced in the 1970s by hunting from the rocky regions of the Sahara or Sahel and is now widespread in certain mountain ranges in the southwest of the peninsula, such as Murcia, to increase its population. Increased competition for food with mountain goats, red deer and fallow deer.
Also notable are cases of Florida turtles that arrived through the pet trade and were later abandoned in rivers or ponds.
The semi-aquatic nature of this tortoise, the sale of which is illegal, allows it to adapt to humid areas, multiply, reach a large size and even displace its competitors, the native, leprosy and European tortoises.
Another notable phenomenon is the entry of the zebra mussel into Spain through trade in the Ebro basin and Mediterranean waters, where it causes economic damage by obstructing many pipes and irrigation facilities or imported from tropical Asia with red palm weevils. Palm trees, from which it feeds.
Eucalyptus, native to regions with a subtropical climate, is another species imported due to interest in the commercial exploitation of wood or paper that affects nearby vegetation and is very present in the Basque Country or Cantabria, or Argentina Ant. An invader that has arrived through trade in packaging materials or imported plants.
Gardening is another route of IAS entry that adapts and invades certain areas, as in the case of “Pampa Duster”, an ornamental plant very present in parks and gardens, or a grass with “Rabo de Gato”. In northeast Africa which was introduced in the 40s for ornamental purposes and has grown so much in the Canary Islands that they have come to colonize and crowd out some native species.
For Laura Moreno, head of WWF’s Endangered Species Program, the problem with lists like the “Catalogue of Species Catalog as Spain’s IAS” is that “they are not effective for prevention, because they do not prevent other species from developing their invasive potential.”
On the contrary, it considers positively the lists included in the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITCO) and the recent Act on Protection, Rights and Welfare in the Ministry’s Roadmap for the Introduction and Promotion of Invasive Species. animals..
According to Moreno, these lists are “a solution to combat the threat of trade in exotic species in sectors such as horticulture or pets, and to control species in the CITES Agreement.”
However, he emphasized that to create these lists, “groups of experts are needed to assess which species are suitable or not from a health and conservation perspective.”