Wednesday, February 05, 2003
According to a BBC News Online report by Alex Kirby the IUCN has estimated that worldwide invasive species cause $400 billion of damage a year!!!
Speaking at the annual meeting of the governing council of the United Nations Environment Programme, Dr Klaus Toepfer, executive director of UNEP, said invasive species were one of the greatest threats to Africa's wildlife.
A report also published at this meeting entitled "Alien Invasive Species in Africa's Wetlands" gives a number of examples of the damaging effects individual invasive species have already had. These include;
* Nile perch, an alien fish introduced to Lake Victoria in East Africa, which constituted 1% of the annual catch soon after its introduction in the 1960s but which now makes up 80% of the catch, and is thought to have helped to drive more than 200 native fish species to extinction.
* The ornamental water hyacinth which now forms very dense floating mats on many of East Africa's freshwater lakes. These fast-growing mats can be extremely difficult to destroy and cause serious problems when they block water supplies, harbours + hydro-electric dams...
* The Red fern (azolla) which also smothers lakes, but in this case provides the perfect breeding grounds for mosquito larvae + for snails carrying bilharzia, a debilitating disease which infects about 300 million people...
For further details see the Global Invasive Species Programme + Ramsar Convention of Wetlands websites...
Posted 10:29 pm by Matt Prescott