Invasive species and conservation

 

Two stories grabbed my attention this week in the news relating to the Ecology and Conservation option unit G.

One was the possible hunting of Canada geese (Branta canadenis) in France due to unexpected climbing numbers. Perhaps it caught my eye as I live in Canada. As the largest goose found in europe it was introduced into Britain in the 17th century; they are prolific breeders. At the end of the 1990’s there were only several hundred in France, now there are believed to be over 5000.

Perhaps discuss with your students how they came to determine these figures? Perhaps you could encourage your students to look for local invasive species? why are they a problem?

The other article relates to the failed efforts in the UK to conserve endangered animals that continue to dwindle in number and the issues relating to ex situ vs in situ as methods for conservation. These include red squirrels, hedgehogs, harvest mice and Scottish wildcats.An interesting place to visit is the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit discusses several conservation projects, its well worth a browse.

Reasons for hedgehog numbers declining include fragmentation of habitats and pesticides used to kill their prey. Red squirrel declining numbers are linked to the squirrel pox virus which is carried by the grey squirrel. Their future appears bleak.

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