Friday, 25 September 2015

EU clamps down on grey squirrels and other invasive wildlife

EU embargo on trade, possession and transport of 37 invasive species filed at the WTO, but conservationists say species omitted for commercial reasons pose a major threat to biodiversity

Arthur Neslen in Brussels

Friday 25 September 2015 14.47 BST Last modified on Friday 25 September 201515.09 BST

Anyone caught exporting or possessing invasive species such as grey squirrels, ruddy ducks and water hyacinth in the EU will soon face heavy fines and confiscations, under a new blacklist filed at the WTO, which the Guardian has seen.

Raccoons, Javan mongooses, and South American coypus are among the 37 types of flora and fauna that will soon face eradication or strict controls in a bid to haltthreats to native wildlife and economic losses, estimated at €12bn (£8.8bn) per year by the EU.

Initially, the new EU regulation will ban a wide range of activities linked with invasive species including trade, transport, possession, breeding and putting on the market.

It also obliges countries including the UK to eradicate invading populations within two months of a new appearance where possible, and to draw up blueprints for containing existing colonies.

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