I was thinking of a topic to start up my blog flow and found an article in the New Scientist magazine about Burmese pythons leading to animal declines in Florida in the US. Linking this information to a recent documentary by the BBC I watched about the Slow loris (including parts on the illegal wild pet trade) leads me to link the two.  One seems to result in the other. Whilst I am sure that many snakes are bred legally for sale, I am sure many are transported into the pet trade from the wild, thus involving the unregulated and no doubt illegal wild animal pet trade.

Studying Conservation biology the issue concerns me as not only are these creatures being poached from the wild from possibly, and most likely definitely habitats and environments in a declining state of health, it also leads to problems in the new ‘home’ countries of these wild animals. Much like the puppy people get for Christmas being abandoned when the recipient gets bored, these animals can also get abandoned into environments which they are not adapted for and that they are foreign to. Introductions such as these lead to calamitous impacts onto the environment of the recipient country. An example from the UK with Japanese Knotweed taking over and strangling native fauna in the United Kingdom. Native to Japan (and surrounding regions) this plant species in it’s native lands is controlled by species of invertebrates and herbivores which co-evolved with it, in the UK these species do not exist so it is left to run rampant wherever it falls. This leading to problems later down the line for species of insect which rely on native flora for food and for those further up the food chain who rely upon these insects for food.

In conclusion I know this is not a new issue, but I do think it is an important one to think about and control.

Comments welcome


Pythons hunt Florida mammals to the brink of extinction, New Scientist, 1st Feb 2012: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21328504.500-pythons-hunt-florida-mammals-to-brink-of-extinction.html

Jungle Gremlins of Java, BBC, 25th Jan 2012: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01bcp7z/Natural_World_20112012_Jungle_Gremlins_of_Java/


4 responses »

  1. Hassan says:

    Interesting. Is the number of species that are imported/exported into other habitats generally large enough to cause a significant impact on the local habitats, though?

    • Emily says:

      From lecture notes it is said to cost 1.4 trillion dollars per yr (impacts of invasives) in damage and control measures. In the US about 42% of native spp are on the threatened or endangered list primarily down to the impacts of exotic invasives.

      • Hassan says:

        Oh wow, 1.4 trillion sounds like a heck of a lot. Only about 1/10th of the entire US budget deficit.
        Considering how big the amount supposedly is, I’m surprised this hasn’t been spoken of more (/I haven’t heard of it more).

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