A leading British conservationist is reportedly playing the “eco-xenophobia” card. While the Brits ramp up their campaign to weed out so-called “alien species” (aka “not native to Britain”) like gray squirrels, parakeets, and rhododendrons, Ian Rotherham, Director of the Environmental Change Research Unit at Sheffield Hallam University, is saying not so fast. He believes that these foreign species attract extra attention simply because they ain’t from ’round here, and that they are no more harmful than any other creatures on British soil.
The London Guardian quotes Rotherham on his reasoning:
“I’ve coined the term ‘Eco-xenophobia’ to stress the idea that we are making judgements not through objectively supported science but through mistaken ideas of what is native, what is alien, and hence what is good or bad,” he said. “Many of these ideas and concepts are very recent and disguise real and serious issues of problem species and of sustainable land management and custodianship. What’s worse perhaps, is that they resonate with ideas growing with the [British National Party] in the UK, and with other right wing groups across Europe.”
The Department for the Environment, however says that invasive species cost the British economy at least £2billion a year, so yeah, they are kind of a problem.
The New York Times reported back in January on one way the Brits are culling their vermin—squirrel soup and pie, anyone?
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Image: flickr / infomatique