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Urgent action needed against invasive species, study finds
The control of the Asian hornet invasion has seen collaboration from multiple stakeholders.
Eighty-eight authors agreed invasive species pose a global threat.

A team of experts has called for urgent action to be taken to handle invasive species, after a study revealed the impact they have on nature and people.

The study, which saw collaboration from 88 authors representing 101 global organisations, found that the impacts of invasive species today may underestimate the significance of future impacts. It also highlighted the importance of interactions between biodiversity drivers, as no driver acts alone.

Studies focused on the findings of the Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) report, which assessed invasive alien species and the control they had.

The report is considered to be an evidence-based assessment, providing options which could inform immediate and ongoing responses.

The authors concluded that invasive alien species will continue to rise. They say that around 200 new alien species are introduced by human activities to areas where they had not been recorded before.

Even where new species are not being introduced, established alien species are continuing to spread their geographic ranges, causing further negative impact.

Although it is the interactions between biodiversity drivers which are amplifying invasions, the authors identify climate change as the major driver facilitating establishment. This means that aquatic and terrestrial species are spreading towards the Arctic and Antarctic regions, and other species are able to extend their ranges into higher elevations in mountainous regions.

The authors agreed that action to prevent further invasion is urgent, but also attainable through co-developed management actions. This will mean co-operative and collaborative action across multiple stakeholders, including governments, private sector stakeholders, Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

One such invasive species is the Asian hornet. The control of this insect’s nest in the UK has involved multiple stakeholders, and a rapid flow of information following the detection of the species.

Prof Helen Roy, of the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and the University of Exeter, said: “With the number of invasive alien species set to rise, the IPBES invasive alien species assessment provides the evidence-base and options to inform immediate and ongoing action.

“To achieve this there is a need for collaboration, communication and cooperation, not only across borders but within countries.”

The full study can be found in the journal Nature, Ecology and Evolution.

Image © Shutterstock

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Charities' XL bully neutering scheme closes

News Story 1
 A scheme that helped owners of XL bully dogs with the cost of neutering has closed to new applications due to high demand.

The scheme, run by the RSPCA, Blue Cross, and Battersea, has helped 1,800 dogs and their owners after XL bullies were banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

In England and Wales, owners of XL bully dogs which were over one year old on 31 January 2021 have until 30 June 2024 to get their dog neutered. If a dog was between seven months and 12 months old, it must be neutered by 31 December 2024. If it was under seven months old, owners have until 30 June 2025.

More information can be found on the Defra website. 

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News Shorts
Avian flu cattle outbreak spreads to tenth US state

Cattle in two dairy herds in Iowa have tested positive for highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), making it the tenth state in the USA to be affected by the ongoing outbreak of the disease in cattle.

Since March 2024, more than 80 herds across the USA have been affected by the virus and three dairy workers have tested positive. Authorities have introduced measures to limit the spread of the virus and farmers have been urged to strengthen their biosecurity protocols.

Mike Naig, Iowa secretary of agriculture, said: "Given the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza within dairy cattle in many other states, it is not a surprise that we would have a case given the size of our dairy industry in Iowa.

"While lactating dairy cattle appear to recover with supportive care, we know this destructive virus continues to be deadly for poultry."