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Invasive species to be eliminated gradually in Czech nature

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Prague, Aug 3 (CTK) – The invasive wild animal and plant species that do not belong to Czech nature but threaten it by their uncontrolled spreading, will not be liquidated en masse but will be eliminated gradually, Jan Plesnik, from the Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic, told CTK yesterday.
He referred to the EU list comprised of 23 invasive animal and 14 plant species.
In captivity or grown by people, these species need not be liquidated but they must be kept in a way not to spread or rise in numbers, Plesnik said.
Vets started checking the import of these species at Czech airports as of yesterday when a new EU directive including a list of banned species took effect.
The species involved threaten Europe’s biodiversity, economy and people’s health.
In the Czech Republic, they include north American crayfish that transfer crayfish plague, the eastern fox and gray squirrels, the racoon, a predator that transfers diseases, and the giant hogweed, a plant that overwhelms surrounding vegetation and may cause burns to humans.
Every EU country can decide on their own way to suppress the invasive species.
The Czech Environment Ministry wants the method to be anchored in the law on nature and landscape protection. It wants to submit a draft amendment to the law by the end of the year, Jan Sima, from the ministry’s section for species protection, said.
The goal of the EU directive is to prevent the problematic species’ spreading. It orders the prevention of unnecessary pain, anxiety or suffering on the part of animals.
“The tabloids’ information that we are going to kill out animals…or instantly burn out [plants] is a certain hyperbole, of course,” Plesnik said.
The EU directive will take effect in the Czech Republic simultaneously with the amended Czech law.
Zoos and non-commercial breeders can keep the species in question until their death if they prevent their escape and further breed.
Plesnik said the planned law will be complemented by a list of invasive species as created by experts from Prague’s Charles University and the Academy of Sciences. They divided the species into three groups – a black, gray and warning lists.
Unlike the EU list, however, this is a scientific document that implies no restrictions.
rtj/dr/kva

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