Over 37,000 'Alien Species' Identified Worldwide, 10% Classified as Aggressively Harmful - UN Report

Invasive species, like rats, cat study. These invasive species are rapidly spreading, damaging crops, forests, causing diseases, and disrupting ecosystems. This situation is costing more than $400 billion annually, which is equivalent to the GDP of Denmark or Thailand. The report, by the UN Convention on Bdiversity's science advisory panel, suggests this estimate could be much lower than the real cost.

The study identified over 37,000 alien species, with 10% of them classified as "invasive" due to their harmful impact. These invaders, such as water hyacinth clogging Lake Victoria, rats decimating bird species, and disease-carrying mosquitoes, have established themselves far from their original habitats. The number of invasive species is rising, and the damage they cause is increasing fourfold per decade since 1970.

Factors like economic growth, population growth, and climate change are making the problem worse. Shockingly, only 17% of countries have regulations to manage invasive species.

Humans are primarily responsible for introducing these species, either intentionally or accidentally. Cargo ships, containers, and even tourists unknowingly transport them worldwide. The spread of invasive species is a clear sign of how human activity is changing the Earth so dramatically that scientists call it the Anthropocene epoch.

Some invasive species arrived intentionally but caused unintended problems. For example, settlers introduced rabbits to New Zealand, and when they multiplied, stoats were brought in to control them. However, the stoats ended up harming native bird species.

Most of the time, these invaders are accidental stowaways, traveling in cargo ship ballast water, containers, or luggage. The Mediterranean Sea, for instance, now hosts fish and plants that came through the Suez Canal from the Red Sea.

Invasive species pose a significant threat, contributing to 60% of documented plant and animal extinctions. They interact with other environmental challenges, like climate change, pushing these species into new territories where native species may not have defenses against them.

Efforts are being made to control invasive species, but it's a challenging task. A global treaty from last December aims to reduce their spread by 2030. Strategies include prevention, eradication, and containment, with varying degrees of success. Small islands have seen better results in eliminating invaders, but they are also more vulnerable to these threats.

invasive species are causing widespread harm, and addressing this issue is crucial to preserving biodiversity and protecting our ecosystems.



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