12 new invasive alien species included to Europe’s list | WWF

12 new invasive alien species included to Europe’s list

Posted on 22 June 2017
Trachemys scripta
© Juan Carlos del Olmo / WWF
WWF welcomes yesterday’s decision by EU Member states to approve the inclusion of 12 new species1 to the EU’s “List of Invasive Alien Species of Union Concern”. One of the new species in the list is the raccoon dog, an increasingly popular exotic pet, which is also used for fur and is one of the main vectors of rabies in Europe and a major ecological threat. 

Invasive alien species (IAS) have devastating impacts on native flora and fauna and they represent the second major threat to biodiversity. It is calculated that invasive alien species that are already established in the EU cost the EU’s economy €12 billion each year through impacts to public health and different economic sectors.
 
WWF commented:
 
“We welcome the decision by all European Institutions to work together to tackle the serious damage that invasive alien species cause to our communities, economy and nature. Including these 12 new species to the EU List, although it’s still a small number, is an important step in the right direction. Some of them, such as Giant Hogweed or Indian Balsam, are very harmful species such as Raccoon dog and others show new pathways of introduction.
 
However, we must remember that the potential of the IAS regulation can only be fully realized if all the most dangerous species are added to the list a soon as possible, using the most common pathways of introduction. By doing this, the EU will be able to meet their target of combatting invasive alien species by 2020 and protecting our biodiversity.” 
 
The EU’s Invasive Alien Species Regulation2, which came into force in January 2015, is a world-leading piece of legislation which fortunately has the potential to achieve Europe’s Biodiversity target to combat invasive alien species by 2020. In 2016 the first list of species to which this Regulation applies was approved including only 37 species (representing only 2% of the existing IAS in Europe)..
 
WWF believes that the IAS Regulation’s potential can only be realized if the European Commission, Member States and the European Parliament work together to ensure the Regulation’s ‘List of Invasive Alien Species of Union Concern’ includes all those invasive alien species which pose the biggest threat to the EU.
 
State:The Member States are expected to vote on further additions to the IAS list in spring 2018
 
For further information, please contact:
Laura Moreno, WWF
lmoreno@wwf.es
Phone: +34 913540578

Notes:
1 The 12 new species in the “List of invasive alien species of Union concern” are:
SCIENTIFIC ENGLISH TAXA
Alopochen aegyptiacus egyptian goose bird
Alternanthera philoxeroides alligator weed plant
Asclepias syriaca common milkweed plant
Elodea nuttalli nuttall's waterweed plant
Gunnera tinctoria chilean rhubarb plant
Heracleum mantegazzianum giant hogweed plant
Impatiens glandulifera indian (himalayan) balsam plant
Microstegium vimineum japaenes stiltgrass plant
Myriophyllum heterophyllum broadleaf watermilfoil plant
Nyctereutes procyonoides racoon dog mammal
Ondatra zibethicus muskrat mammal
Pennisetum setaceum crimson fountaingrass plant

2 EU Regulation 1143/2014 on Invasive Alien Species
Trachemys scripta
© Juan Carlos del Olmo / WWF Enlarge
Removal of alien species in Rusenski Lom Nature Park.
© WWF/Katerina Rakovska Enlarge