Species alert

Raccoon Procyon lotor

Population of this North American predator in Poland was founded around 1990 by individuals immigrating from eastern Germany after their introduction there before WW II. By now the species invaded the western part of the country. Recently racoons are more and more popular as pets. As a consequence, the number of records of individuals that escaped or were released is increasing throughout Poland. Raccoons are omnivorous and may have negative impact not only on ground-nesting birds but, thanks to climbing skills, also on species breeding over the ground. In addition, a nematode Baylisascaris procyonis, carried by racoons, may be dangerous for humans. Any information on occurrence of this species is very valuable. Photo by Magdalena Bartoszewicz

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Grey squirrel Sciurus carolinensis

The North American Grey squirrel carries a poxvirus that poses a deadly threat for the European red squirrels. The greys are also effective competitors for food. Their invasion on the British Isles, started by introduction in 1850s, led to dramatic decrease in the native squirrels and locally, to its complete extirpation. A similar scenario, albeit on a smaller scale, continues in northern Italy – the other area of Grey squirrel occurrence in Europe. There are no confirmed records of this species in Poland yet. However, there are recent cases of keeping it as pets. Although this fashion is not popular, there is a risk of escapes and deliberate releases of captive animals into the wild. Therefore any information on keeping of this species and any records of free-ranging Grey squirrels are very important. It should be remembered, however, that there is a risk of misidentification with dark form of the native red squirrel. Photo by Renata i Marek Kosińscy

Coneflower Rudbeckia laciniata

The Coneflower was introduced from North America to Europe in the 17th, and to Poland at the end of the 18th century. Ornamental values and ease of cultivation soon made it very popular garden flower. Together with removed plant material it was also spread outside gardens, although there were no records of its spread in the wild. Recently, however, in some parts of Poland (eg. in the Bieszczady Mts. in SE part of the country) a rapid expansion of this species has been recorded, particularly along streams. Locally coneflowers became so numerous that they form dense patches that effectively subdue any native vegetation. The potential consequences of this phenomenon have not been sufficiently recognized at the country scale, therefore any information on spread of this species is very important.Photo by Ryszard Babiasz

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Golden jackal Canis aureus

In the past the natural range of the Golden jackal extended in southern Asia, central and northern Africa and in south-eastern Europe. After 1950 the species started expansion towards the north and west. Reproducing populations are already found e.g. in Austria and Hungary, and single individuals were recorded very close to the Polish border in Slovakia, Czech Republic, Ukraine and Lithuania. In spring 2015 the Golden jackal was first recorded in eastern Poland, in the Biebrza river valley and near Biała Podlaska. There are no premises to suggest that in any of these places the species could have been accidentally or intenionally introduced. Therefore the Golden jackal should be considered to be native in Poland. Photo by Miha Krofel


Golden jackal Canis aureus native in Poland


Over the last few years the expansion of the Golden jackal Canis aureus triggered discussions on the status of this species in countries in which it had never been recorded in the past.

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Fatal complications after inflammation by the Sosnowskyi’s hogweed Heracleum sosnowskyi


A 67-year-old woman, who exposed herself to the sap of Sosnowskyi’s hogweed Heracleum sosnowskyi while she was mowing her lawn several days ago, died in the Burn Treatment Centre in Siemianowice Śląskie, despite the fact that only 5% of the body surface on her arm was affected. She had suffered from chronic disease which weakened her immune system. Blood circulation cessation was the direct cause of her death.

First records of the Golden jackal Canis aureus in Poland


First documented Polish records of the Golden Jackal Canis aureus in Poland were made in May and June 2015 r. Sigle individulas were seen in the eastern part of the country, in the Biebrza National Park and near the Biała Podlaska.

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Military aspect of biological invasions


A new alien rush, north American Juncus anthelatus, was discovered in a the former military training area near Żagań (SW Poland). In 2014, 1200 tussocks were recorded there.

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Invasive Alien Species (IAS) are commonly regarded as a major threat to the biological diversity on a global scale, second only to habitat loss. Although the problem is well recognised, concerted attempts to solve it have only been undertaken within last decades few years. Collection and dissemination of information on IAS are widely recognised as crucial components for solving the problems they pose.

In 1999, the database on species introduced into Poland was developed at the Institute of Nature Conservation, Polish Academy of Sciences in Krakow for the Ministry of the Environment. In 2003, thanks to a grant from the US State Department, part of the data was translated and made accessible on the Internet.

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