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
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
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
Alien species at the Euromal Congress, Kraków, Poland, September 2017
Invasive alien species (IAS) are considered to be one of the most serious drivers of global biodiversity change, including extinction of native species. They also incur significant economic losses, negatively affect socio-cultural values and put human health and lives at risk. However, the full scale of the problem has only been recognised a few decades ago. This resulted into rapid increase in the number of studies on the causes and consequences of IAS introductions. Still, despite the growing interest and knowledge on the problem, and regardless of recent advancements at national and international regulatory and non-regulatory frameworks, the IAS problem has not been effectively addressed yet.
Infamous representatives of IAS can be found across all taxa, and molluscs are by no means an exception. Gastropods and bivalves have particularly bad reputation in this respect. The IUCN's selection of the 100 worst global IAS includes 6 molluscs and DAISIE lists 11 molluscs among 100 worst European IAS.
We propose to meet in September 2017 in Kraków, Poland, at the 8th Congresses of the European Malacological Societies (Euromal), and discuss the most important issues on the reasons and consequences of mollusc invasions in order to identify threats, main mechanisms of impact and find remedies.
Adoption of the list of IAS of Union concern
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.
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.
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.