photo from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (public domain)

The UK is now home to a host of non-native plant and animal species. So-called ‘invasive species’ were invariably imported to the UK as pets, introduced for farming and aquaculture or taken here for some other reason – by humans, of course. Now that their impact has (sometimes) proven negative or inconvenient, many people don’t want them around anymore.

The Independent features an article on some of the more exotic and rare animals to establish themselves in the UK, including rumors of lions, pumas, panthers and cougars prowling the English countryside, but also wild boars, which used to be native to Britain, but now that a few have come back, are considered pests. Typical.

Coypus (mistaken for giant rats), scorpions and vicious Siberian chipmunks (I’m not kidding) round out the list for the UK’s weird non-native species.

Read more in the Independent.

On the slightly more familiar side are flocks of ring-necked parakeets (by now an established feature in some London parks) muntjac deer, ‘pesky’ North American grey squirrels and rhododendrons, which are apparently not as nice as they look.

From the Guardian:

Victorian plant explorers were constantly hunting for new species of rhododendron in the foothills of the Himalayas. The pink-flowered species (Rhododendron ponticum) has since invaded many woods, shading out native plants and hosting a fungus (Phytophthora) that kills some forestry and native trees.

Many of the effects of invasive species in the UK are not known, but the Observer/Guardian article encourages readers to report sightings of these plant and animal interlopers to various groups, supplying links by which to contact them.

About The Author: Graham Land

Greenfudge editor and London-based writer Graham Land grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC, where he was part of the local hardcore punk scene, playing in several bands. Through this musical movement he became involved in grass roots interests such as anti-racist activism, animal rights and Ecology. In 2000 he relocated to Europe, eventually earning an MA from Malmö University in Sweden. He has also lived in Japan, Ireland, Portugal and Greece.


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