Eleven invasive exotic animal species that cause or threaten to cause damage to the natural environment have to be eradicated or contained without any delay in Wallonia, according to new EU regulation. The conclusions of a panel of experts that studied the problem in Belgium appeared on Thursday in the magazine Forêt Nature, Le Soir reported. “Eleven of the 18 invasive animal species may be subject to eradication measures or confinement for a reasonable price compared to the environmental and socioeconomic costs they are likely to bring about,” the 35 scientists and 45 land managers from Belgium’s three regions said, adding that now is the time to act.
In its latest count, the European Union identified 49 invasive alien plant and animal species that have to be eradicated or contained, because of the damage to the natural biodiversity they are likely to cause. Among these species, six are established and breeding in Wallonia: the bull frog, the Californian crayfish and its relation from Louisiana, the Siberian chipmunk, the coypu, and the Chinese muntjac.
Five species are more sporadic: the Ruddy Duck, the raccoon dog, the fox squirrel and the grey squirrel, as well as the white ibis. According to experts, these animals must either be eradicated, or confined within one area.
On the other hand, seven other species are too widespread (the American crayfish, the Asian hornet, the Asian dowel fish, the Florida turtle, the Egyptian goose, the muskrat and the raccoon) and can now only be controlled “through mitigation measures intended to reduce their density locally.”
The measures advocated by the experts would cost 700,000 euros. The regulation focuses only on species that were introduced to the European Union as a consequence of human intervention, not species that migrated naturally due to environmental changes.