Instead of shooting, slashing and poisoning species from other countries, we should be celebrating them as our future, says leading science writer, Fred Pearce. They are not the ruffian vagabonds they are often portrayed as, but rather the go-getting pioneers that will create a “new wild”, he argues.
Many conservationists regard invasive alien species as one of the biggest threats to native wildlife. The government’s wildlife agency, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), puts the cost of non-native species to the Scottish economy at £244 million a year.
Grey squirrels from North America chase out native red squirrels, rhododendrons from Spain smother natural forests and Japanese knotweed bursts through floorboards. American mink kill seabirds, voles and salmon, while North American signal crayfish eat fish, amphibians and insects.
But we should not be demonising and trying to eradicate them, says Pearce, but giving them a warm welcome. Otherwise we risk being guilty of a “green xenophobia” that treats all native species as good and all aliens as bad, he argues.