Foreign Invasive Species

photoby: Anonymous

Pests. They are everywhere. We have to deal with them on a regular occurrence throughout our life. Sometimes you’ll hear something like, “oh, looks like that deer that comes by the yard every other day went ahead and devoured our rose bush again..” or if your from Florida, “I just drove that half hour drive to Britany’s house, and now I have to get that lovebug splatter off my car before it eats away the paint.” These may not be your problems, but we all can relate to inconveniences of nature. Sometimes these pests aren’t pests. They are dangerous monsters that threaten mankind, such as the pythons that “escaped from captivity near the Everglades during Hurricane Andrew in 1992” (Weeks par. 4). Even feral pigs in the South have been known to attack humans and their pets (Weeks par. 10). Let alone the fact they harm society, they are even more dangerous to the other native wildlife across the U.S. Ultimately because of the danger foreign invasive species can have on humanity and the United States’ wild life environment, something must be done. I believe to confront this problem the U.S. should most definitely restrict the importation of foreign animals to the country to some extent.

The people that oppose the restrictions of foreign animal importation do have a valid point as well. So much knowledge can be learned from foreign organisms, that it would almost hinder the development of our nation. Foreign organisms can be very beneficial under certain circumstances. For instance the bio-engineered bacteria used in the British Petroleum oil spill disaster was a foreign introduced organism that helped eliminate and clean up the gulf, saving the lives of much marine life (Dimond par. 14). Around the world there are many exotic animal enthusiasts that teach and also bring money into the U.S because of their profession as well. It would be a shame to prevent them from living their dream. That is what the U.S. stands for doesn’t it? Where anyone can come to the U.S. and live their life the way they want to? Well of course, but if it is life threatening to the United States’ society and environment and there is actual proof of the devastation foreign animals can do and have done, than some reform must be implemented to at least reduce that threat in some way.

While there are plenty of benefits to allowing foreign animals into the country, I believe the possibility of foreign species becoming invasive and becoming a danger to society and other humans alike is greatly outweighed by the former. Ecologist Daniel Simberloff, Ph.D., stated in his article that, “out of 1,880 imperiled species in the United States, 49% are endangered because of introduced species alone,” which shows how devastating these foreign animals can be to the native animals of the country (par. 3). He also goes on to mention that the cost, “estimated at $137 billion per year to the U.S. economy,” which is an unfathomable amount that, I believe, could have been prevented if we had more restrictions put on foreign animals entering the country. Peter T. Jenkins, an attorney and policy analyst at the International Center for Technology Assessment in Washington, D.C. recorded in his article that with every $1 spent in prevention methods, that it would save $17 in future expenses used to repair the damage (par. 11). Which only adds to the reason why foreign species is such a problem in the U.S. and also hints at how the problem could be solved.

Ultimately, my opinion on the matter is the fact that the danger and expense of foreign species being used in the country greatly exceeds the benefits of having them be allowed. I feel that a majority of the reasons to keep them allowed are reasons that are flawed. For instance exotic pet owners, one of the reasons is because they just want to own exotic pets. There is no specific beneficial reason except the fact they like having a Siberian tiger in their back yard. While some enthusiasts are beneficial in their knowledge and research and are successful in maintaining and keeping their animals confined, the chance these dangerous animals will escape or be carelessly let go and endanger the lives, jobs, and environment of humans and animals alike is very irrational. Even when foreign species are used to lower the population of another invasive species, the result ends up with the alien species becoming the new invasive. Introducing “oil eating” bacteria to the oil spill in the gulf was obviously a great idea, yet that was an experiment that was researched where the bacteria would die off after it has done it’s job.

If we could find a way to research and test the organisms prior to entering the United States, I believe this would be a great solution to the foreign species problem. I read an article on the BBC on why and how England is completely clean of the rabies virus. They described how they keep animals in quarantine for six months if they haven’t been vaccinated to make sure they don’t have the virus (Q&A: Rabies par. 19). Even though a virus is a little different then a full grown animal, I believe this practice is the key to helping prevent foreign invasive species. In that time they could do research on how the animal will effect the environment and if it would be a danger to society and other organisms. Similar to the bacteria used in the oil spill stated previously. Researching the outcome and actions of the organism greatly benefited the oil spill disaster. As Peter T. Jenkins stated earlier, if we spent the time and money to research the organisms before hand, we would save the country money and lives.

Works Cited

Dimond, Patricia F. “Can Microbes Help Stem the BP Oil-Spill Disaster?GEN. Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News, 17 June 2010. Web. 27 Sept. 2013.

Jenkins, Peter T. “Issues in S and T, Fall 2002, Paying for Protection from Invasive Species.” Issues in S and T, Fall 2002, Paying for Protection from Invasive Species. N.p., 2007. Web. 06 Oct. 2013.

“Q&A: Rabies.” BBC News. BBC, 24 May 2012. Web. 22 Sept. 2013.

Simberloff, Daniel. “Introduced Species: The Threat to Biodiversity & What Can Be Done.”Actionbioscience. American Institute of Biological Sciences, Dec. 2000. Web. 03 Dec. 2013.

Weeks, Jennifer. “Invasive Species.” CQ Researcher. SAGE Publications, 17 Feb. 2012. Web. 22 Sept. 2013.

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6 thoughts on “Foreign Invasive Species

  1. I agree with your post. Invasive species are destructive (for the most part) to the U.S. if we allow them (or even don’t allow them) into the country. There are pros and cons of having invasive species in the country, but generally, the cons outweigh the pros. Your last statement sums up the whole point of the blog for me. Research needs to be done before we allow these foreign species into the country. It will save time, money, and energy if we do the research beforehand. I would suggest that we go to other countries to study these species rather than bring them here first and then study them. That way, the cons can be left behind when the researchers re-enter the U.S. By doing so, we can further research and discuss the pros and cons before allowing different species into our country. We do not need to waste any more time, energy, and money bringing these foreign species into our country before we study them. There are more important issues that need to be taken care of.

  2. Having visited south Florida and knowing people who live down there i can vouch for a lot of what you said in your article. people take Poisonous snakes from other parts of the world and they free them in south Florida where they can survive due to the climate that docent reflect much rest of the united states. They do have a amnesty day where you can turn these animals in without repercussions.

  3. I agree that introducing new species into an environment that there do not belong is ecologically dangerous. I live near Lake Zorinski and last year the entire lake as drained. Why? Tiger muscles. An invasive species. Someone or somehow they crept into the lake and begin ravishing the natural habitats of the fish that resided in the lake. The entire project of draining the lake to kill off the tiger muscles I’m sure was quite expensive, not to mention it not only killed all the tiger muscles but everything else that was in the lake. Plus it made the whole neighborhood smell i scat for the entire summer. I completely agree that humans should not introduce species unnaturally because it can have some pretty nasty consequences that outweigh the benefits.

  4. I’ve never really thought that much about this topic! This is very interesting! I had no idea that 49% were extinct just because of the introduced species.

  5. Never thought of foreign animals being invasive. The immigration problem is always dealing with illegal immigrants as in people. Very cool topic, interesting topic to read about

  6. Although, I agree with your stance on this controversial issue I feel it is important to heavily consider the fact that the pet industry, for which some of these animals are imported, generates billions of dollars for the U.S. economy. Banning these animals could devastate the many jobs that depend on this industry.

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