Hello everyone, I’d like to get this started right off thebat with a question, would you like to see all our ecosystems continuously bedestroyed and eradicated? No right? would like to paint an image for you. Imaginethis fish, the beautiful majestic red lionfish. A fish from a faraway Indo-Pacificregion. It makes its way to the Caribbean through aquariums and fish collectorsin Florida, and makes it across the Caribbean Sea, East United States Coast,and part of the Gulf of Mexico. What happens then? Does anyone know? Ecologicaldevastation, sadly is what happens and has been happening for many years nowdue to this fish.Today’s world is one with a fragileecosystem, and an ever-growing population.

In order to keep as much of abalance as possible in the world, and stop it from deteriorating any further,we have to begin dealing with a major issue which is not only important in our wholeplanet, but is also very relevant in our own community of Florida. The issue ofinvasive species, which is tearing apart the ecosystems that they fall into. Andof course, an important question, to put it bluntly, why should anyone in thisroom care? Because it affects the future of our close descendants, and mostlikely our future.  Species like thesecan permanently alter the way the world works, and even though the changes madecan be small, they always end up in a domino effect leading to much worsethings, such as the extinction of key species which can lead to mass deaths ofother species, changing of soil chemistry leading to some inhospitableconditions for native species, invasion of territory for plants, and even thestrength of forest fires in the area, forever changing the world in unwantedways.So, to take care of a problem, onemust understand it as much as they can.

So, what, in a nutshell is an invasivespecies? It is a species that enters an environment to which it is not native. Basically,a species invading an ecosystem it does not belong in. Species ranging fromplants to animals. The presence of invasive species is very detrimental to thearea they end up inhabiting, they disrupt the order which has been establishedby nature, causing issues such as extinction of native species, destruction ofbiodiversity, and destruction of native habitats. And how do they even get away fromtheir homes? Well plants and animals can be introduced by people most of thetime, through accidental release, captivity, and releasing of quote unquoteexotic pets.

Exotic pets being a quite well earning industry especially here inMiami, where exotic plants and animals are smuggled in and sold to those whowould like to have interesting pets and plants. For example, let’s look back at thatlionfish. That lionfish was brought for aquariums in Florida many years ago,and unwanted lionfish are dumped into the ocean. The lionfish has very fewpredators in the Atlantic, devours economically important fish, spreads likerabbits, damages coral reefs, and has proven to be near impossible to eliminate.And it’s not just in Florida, across the world you can find this happening, andthe same story for other species like the Burmese Python, Zebra mussel, etc. Fromour own backyard to Iceland & England.

 So, what can we all here do to chip in for thecause? There are many ways, but I’ll share 5 easy ones. The first important wayis to know the invasive species of your area, spread awareness to whoever youcan, and be sure to call your local exotic animal control commission, or if itis a plant find out the proper removal method. Ours is 1-888-483-4681, and here are some big invasive species in ourarea.

Burmese Python, Black Rat, Cuban tree frogs, and many more. Another wayyou can work against this is to not purchase any kind of “Exotic pets”, becauseit an industry with a lot of animal mistreatment, and spreading of dangerousspecies. And if you do ever happen to purchase one, please do not for any, any,any reason, let it out into the wild. This also applies to dogs, cats, fish, anyhouse pet. Next is for anyone who uses any type of nonnative plant for whateverreason, like Caesarweed, or Bishopwood (which can cause harsh changes to waterchemistry) just for example, which are medicinal and ornamental, firstly youcan of course not use one, but if you really want to, take care that they arenot planted in free soil, and make sure they or their seeds don’t spread.Lastly is to make sure that you make sure you can limit the spread of invasive rodentsand insects, limit their ability to take shelter and feed on anything,therefore limiting their ability to spread anywhere else and cause damage, orcreep anyone out.If we all help to limit the spreadof these species in the simplest of ways, we can halt the ever-growing push of invasivespecies in our backyard an all around the world, in order to do what we can toensure a better future for ourselves, the next generation, and generationsbeyond.

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