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Invasive Alien Species

Why is it in the news?

  • Chital (spotted deer), native to mainland India, were introduced to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands by the British in the early 20th century. They have since become a threat to the islands’ native flora and fauna due to their rapid spread.

About Invasive Alien Species

  • Defined by the Convention on Biological Diversity as species whose introduction and spread outside their natural distribution threaten biodiversity.
  • Characteristics include the ability to arrive, survive, and thrive in new environments, often outcompeting native species for resources.
  • Examples of Invasive Wildlife in India includes species of fish like the African catfish, Nile tilapia, red-bellied piranha, and turtle species like the red-eared slider.
  • These species often outcompete native species for resources, disrupting ecosystems.
  • Disrupt the food chain and ecosystem balance, dominate habitats where there is no competition, and hinder the regeneration of native vegetation by consuming seeds and seedlings.
  • In India, examples like the cotton mealy bug, an invasive species native to North America, have severely affected cotton crops in the Deccan region, leading to yield losses.
  • Globally, the economic cost of Invasive Alien Species was over $423 billion annually in 2019.

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