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Not welcome in the wild - invasive species in the EU

Not welcome in the wild - invasive species in the EU
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In early 2015 the EU Regulation on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species came into force. The document is the EU's main weapon in its fight against living organisms not native to the continent's ecosystems. The central document of the regulation is a list containing 49 species, which the EU considers a threat to biodiversity in Europe. Some of the species also cause economic damage worth billions of Euros across the bloc.

Among the invaders on the list are animals such as nutria, raccoon, muskrat and Egyptian goose, and plants including giant hogweed, western waterweed and Himalayan balsam. The regulation compels all EU member states to implement measures against the spread of the listed species, including prevention, early detection and rapid eradication of new invasions. In addition, it is illegal to keep, sell or transport the species.

The 49 plants and animals on the list only represent a small portion of the around 12,000 species that are present but not considered to be native in the EU. Some of them came to the continent as exotic pets, others arrived by accident, for example as stowaways on board transport vessels or inside the suitcases of unsuspecting travellers. Animals and plants that establish themselves as a result of climate change are not included.

The following interactive graphic features some of the invasive species in the EU:

[Attention: These images are intended exclusively for editorial use in connection with the current coverage and may be used only when using the copyright notice "Photo: dpa".]

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