Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Chipmunks in France - Invasive Species Spreading Through France

Invasive species are becoming a huge problem in many countries of the world, and although many countries now take stringent measures to prevent invasive animal or plant species taking hold, the problem continues to grow.  Northern France is currently being overun by Siberian chipmunks, a species that is not native to France.  The problem started over the border in Belgium, when a group of chipmunks were released into a park in Brussels.  The group of chipmunks began to breed and started to colonise large parts of Belgium and Northern France. They were joined by chipmunks that were bought as pets and then released by their owners, and it is estimated that there are now over 100,000 chipmunks living in the wild in France.

You might ask what the problem is, because after all aren't Siberian chipmunks cute little critters?  Well the big problem is that chipmunks are not a part of that native ecosystem, and are taking the food and out-competing native mamals and rodents.  They destroy vegetation and can be carriers of diseases such as Lyme disease and Rabies.  Experts believe that it is only a matter of time before they reach the UK, to add yet another burden on our already challenged environment.

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