Daniel Zeichner MP has lent his support to the ruderal bumblebee during Invasive Species Week (27 March – 2 April). Organised by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and supported by organisations like the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Invasive Species Week aims to raise awareness of invasive non-native species (INNS) and how people can help to prevent or slow their spread.
Invasive species now rank as the second biggest contributor to global biodiversity loss and are a huge threat to native wildlife. Species are considered to be invasive if they prey on native species, compete with them for food and breeding sites, introduce new diseases or breed with them to create hybrid species.
There are currently around 2,000 established non-native species in Great Britain with roughly 10 new species arriving and establishing each year. About 15% of these become invasive. The British economy currently spends at least £1.7 billion on action to reduce invasive species each year.
The problem is getting worse as increased global trades means more species are being moved around while climate change is making it easier for many species to change their habitats.
Daniel Zeichner MP, who is Parliament’s Species Champion for the ruderal bumblebee, said: “Invasive species are impacting our wildlife across the country and are impacting on the species and places we all love. But we can all take easy steps to help wildlife like disposing of garden waste properly or reporting sightings of invasive species.”
Jess Chappell, Nature Policy Officer at the RSPB, added: “Invasive non-native species are now one of the biggest drivers of global biodiversity loss, and the problem is only set to increase as global trade deliberately and accidentally transports species across the globe. Tackling the issue is now more important than ever, and everyone – government, businesses, conservation organisations, and individuals – can do their bit. Invasive Species Week is a great way of raising the profile of invasive species issues, and we hope that it inspires people to consider what they themselves can do to stop invasive species spread.”