The Burlington Free Press has a great, big-picture look at the threat of invasive organisms, as a growing number of non-native plants and animals spread closer to our borders. Writer Candace Page begins with a what-if:
The emerald ash borer, an invading insect from Asia, spreads into the state from the Midwest. One hundred million ash trees die.
Or chronic wasting disease, a fatal illness, is confirmed in a wild Vermont whitetail deer. To keep the disease from spreading, teams of shooters kill most of the deer in a 300-square-mile area around the sick animal.
Or the Asian longhorned beetle is found in a Green Mountain woodlot. At best, hundreds or thousands of trees are cut down to eradicate the bug. At worst, the state’s maple-dominated forests are in deep peril.
Page points out that Massachusetts has already spent more than $60 million to eradicate Asian beetles. And she notes that huge policy questions remain as biologists wrestle with the question of how (or if) to fight these invaders.
And just when you thought the list of invaders couldn’t get any more obnoxious, we now have wild hogs pushing into the Empire state. This from YNN in Syracuse.
“Very smart. Can be very elusive,” said Paul Curtis, Wildlife Specialist at Cornell University.
“They’ve got four inch razor-sharp tusks,” Curtis said. “They can be very aggressive and knock a person down and gore them.”
And I thought zebra mussels were bad…