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Non-native species pose threat

Update: September, 23/2013 - 08:00
Red-eared sliders fall in to a trap set by the Ha Noi Science and Technology Department's engineers in Van Quan Lake. Experts have urged Viet Nam to beef up administrative efforts to manage over 90 non-native species posing threats to the national ecosystem and biodiversity. — VNA/VNS Photo Nhat Anh

HA NOI (VNS)— Experts have urged Viet Nam to beef up administrative efforts to manage over 90 non-native species posing threats to the national ecosystem and biodiversity.

Attending a recent meeting hosted by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment's Viet Nam Environment Administration, participants urged the ministry to curb the number of alien species entering the country.

Mai Hong Quan from the administration's Biodiversity Conservation Department, said an official survey showed that up to 85 per cent of managers working at local customs and environmental branches lacked the knowledge to identify non-native species.

Findings also showed around 7 per cent of environmental managers at the central level did not understand regulations on managing alien species.

Meanwhile, experts said that the key to controlling the invasion of alien species was early detection and extermination before they could spread.

Conservationist Le Thiet Binh, said short training courses for managers at the local level were necessary.

The ministry has reached out to scientists to help environmental managers identify and manage alien species, he said.

Deputy Director of the administration Nguyen The Dong, said despite being able to manage the invasion of species such as the channeled apple snail (Pomacea canaliculata) or red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans), the administration was failing to control the invasion of many alien species.

Participants recommended the administration develop plans to upgrading the skills of alien species managers at both central and local levels, he said.

Dong also said that alien species were believed to be the second greatest threat to the national ecosystem, entering the country via many channels, Dong said.

The species entered the country via water, air, goods and animals transported across borders, or were imported to Viet Nam for breeding.

According to scientists, alien species disrupt the natural chain in the ecosystem, affect biodiversity, degrade habitats, alter native genetic diversity and transmit exotic diseases to native species; further jeopardising endangered plants and animals.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed all alien species found in Viet Nam on the 100 of the World's Worst Invasive Alien Species. — VNS


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