The ruddy duck, originally from North America, was introduced to Britain as an ornamental wildfowl in the 1940s and soon spread throughout the country. Only after a decade or more of expensive culling, has this non-native duck been largely removed.
The success of eradication programmes like this has led to calls to similarly cull the ring-necked parakeet, a species from Africa and south Asia that is now a common sight in London and is spreading across Britain. As the UK’s only naturalised parrot and the most northerly breeding parrot in the world, any cull promises to be highly controversial.
Many invasive species cause (often major) problems around the world. However, the idea that all “alien” species are inherently bad, and that invasions can be always effectively controlled, is mistaken. Invasive non-native species are frequently associated with damage to ecological systems and even to people and economies. Yet ecological novelty is now the order of the day, we we must adapt both our ideas and our actions to this new reality. MORE
Header image: Spanish Bluebells have escaped into the wild in the UK. Credit: Ian Rotherham, Author provided.