COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Sept. 17 (UPI) — Europe-wide legislation should be put in place by next year to protect native wildlife from invasive species, conservationists say.
Wildlife experts are demanding urgent action by the European Union to protect Europe’s indigenous species from “alien invaders,” the BBC reported Friday.
Scientists meeting at a conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, say invasive, non-native animals, plants and microorganisms cause at least $16 billion in damage in Europe each year.
Invasive species are defined as ones introduced accidentally or deliberately into a place where they are not normally found.
A European inventory in 2008 found more than 10,000 alien species in Europe, with 1,300 having some kind of impact either on the environment, economy or on human health, researchers say.
“For many species we have no idea what damage they cause or their economic impact. This is just a fraction of the actual cost,” Piero Genovesi, chair of the Invasive Species Specialist Group, told BBC News.
“We’re asking the EU to rapidly develop and approve a policy on invasive species, fulfilling the formal commitment agreed by the council of European ministers in June 2009,” Genovesi said.
“This is urgent; we would like this to be in place by next year.”
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