Sunday, 6 July 2014

When is an alien not an alien?

OK – a test for you! Which of the list below would you say is a non-native or so called “alien” to the UK?

1)      Little Egret
2)      Fallow Deer
3)      Ground Elder
4)      Rainbow Trout
5)      Little Owl
6)      Oxford Ragwort
7)      Brown Rat
8)      Red-Legged Partridge
9)      Sycamore Tree
10)   Brown Hare
11)   Charlock
12)   Collared Dove

(Answers at the bottom of this page)

The Non-Native Species Secretariat defines non-native plants and animals as those that have been introduced to the country by humans, deliberately or accidentally, since the last Ice Age (around 10,000 years ago)

A study in 2005 revealed an unbelievable 2,721 non-native species living in the wild in England - 66% of which are plants.

Most non-native species, sometimes known as "aliens", do not cause problems, but a minority are deemed "invasive" when they have negative impacts on wildlife, habitats or the economy.

The introduction of non-native species is rising sharply due to the increase in trade, transport, travel and tourism. World globalisation has offered species new pathways and increased opportunities to establish in new areas.

The term alien or non-native species should only be applied to species that have been moved around the world by people and released – deliberately or accidentally – into areas outside their natural range. Such introductions are one of the primary drivers of global biodiversity loss and are a serious issue.

From the list of 12 species at the top of the page, only numbers 1 & 12 (the Little Egret and the Collared Dove) arrived here under their own steam and as such can be deemed to be native to our shores - the others are aliens!!

Collared Dove first bred in Norfolk in 1954

The Little Owl was introduced to this country

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