Invasive Species Essay

4462 Words18 Pages
“Perceptions of Invasive Species: The Cane Toad” Invasive species are often given a bad name. The word “invasive” itself naturally has negative connotations, which is perhaps why when people hear the term “invasive species” they automatically regard the species with animosity. As Davis et al. (2011) aptly put: ‘'non-native' species have been vilified for driving beloved 'native' species to extinction and generally polluting 'natural' environments. Intentionally or not, such characterizations have helped to create a pervasive bias against alien species that has been embraced by the public, conservationists, land managers and policy-makers, as well by as many scientists, throughout the world.’ The issue of native and invasive species is not clear, even though we tend to value native species and view invasive species with suspicion. As Thompson (2014) notes, native and alien are not ‘nice, unambiguous categories’ and the mantra of ‘aliens bad, natives good’ has hidden the truth that natives also have negative impacts on ecosystems. Increasingly, the value of the native and alien division in conservation is decreasing, and becoming counterproductive (Carroll, 2011). However, there are many who still consider this division an important principle in ecology (Fleishman et al. 2011). One of the classic invasive species is the cane toad in Australia. There is much public antipathy towards the cane toad (Taylor and Edwards 2005, Molloy and Henderson 2006). Franklin (2007) found that 37% of the respondents in a national survey had encountered cane toads on their property and 69% of those actively tried to keep them away. They are certainly unpopular in Australia. The Australian government placed them in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 as a ‘key threatening process’ (Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and
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