Endangered Species Friday [Case Study]: Dusicyon australis
How the Fur Trade Pushed the Falkland Islands Wolf into Extinction.
This Friday’s Endangered Species watch Post (ESP) focuses on a species that was literally hunted into extinction. Daily I read comments about our wildlife or speak to animal lovers, activists or conservationists of which many show great concern in relation to legal hunting E.g (Cites permitted trophy hunting), or poaching E.g (non-permitted illegal hunting).
D. australis was identified back in 1792 as the (Falklands Wolf) by Dr Robert Kerr (1755 – 11 October 1813) was a scientific writer and translator from Scotland. Dr Kerr was born in Roxburghshire as the son of a jeweler. He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh and practiced at the Edinburgh Foundling Hospital as a surgeon. He translated several scientific works into English, such as Antoine Lavoisier’s work of 1789, Traité Élémentaire de Chimie, published under the title Elements of Chemistry in a New Systematic Order containing All the Modern Discoveries, in 1790.
In 1792, Dr Kerr published The Animal Kingdom, the first two volumes of a four-tome translation of Professor Linnaeus’ Systema Naturae, which is often cited as the taxonomic authority for a great many species. (He never did the remaining two volumes.) What would Dr Kerr say now if he knew this magnificent creature he discovered has since been pushed into extinction via ‘legal hunting practices and deliberate persecution’?. Like few conservationists and philanthropist’s that I have spoken to whom have identified species of birds, frogs and new world primates their most common reaction is utter shock and frustration, although most were not surprised.
While Dr Kerr was the primary individual that named and listed the species, Capt. John Strong, a British Marine explorer was the very first person to discover the Falkland Island Wolf upon landing on the Falkland Islands back in the 1690’s. Based on historical and fossil records we know the species was living quite a peaceful and undisturbed life. Historical records also prove that Charles Darwin who was a naturalist and geologist whom visited the islands back in 1833 stated the Falkland’s Wolf was commonly seen. Its from this point back in the early 1800’s after Charles Darwin’s visit that the Falkland Wolf populations began to decline. Within approximately thirty years after Charles Darwin’s visit - the species then went extinct.
From 1833 to 1876 when active exploration’s and colonization’s began increasing the evidence pinpoints that humans were the primary cause for the species complete extinction. Had the Falkland’s not been colonized or disturbed by explorers and hunters its very likely the Falkland Islands Wolf would still be with us today. That is based on my own expert opinion and scientific studies that have proved islands with no human interference over eighty million years old up to the 1900’s the majority of non-colonized islands regardless of their size - all their natural wildlife discovered is still mostly intact. Take the island of Madagascar as an example!
The prehistoric breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana separated the Madagascar-Antarctica-India landmass from the Africa-South America landmass around 135 million years ago. Madagascar later split from India about 88 million years ago, allowing plants and animals on the island to evolve in relative isolation. As a result of the island’s long isolation from neighboring continents, Madagascar is home to an abundance of plants and animals found nowhere else on Earth. Approximately 90 percent of all plant and animal species found in Madagascar are endemic. So we know that if left untouched both the Falkland island and Madagascar’s habitat and wildlife both flora and fauna lived undistributed.
While Madagascar’s history is a little different from the Falkland Islands the evidence is clear, that as soon as explorers, human colonies, immigrants and travelling settlers visited - the habitat became threatened just as the Falkland’s Wolf became extinct in under thirty years after Charles Darwin’s visit, 1833. Only 10 percent of Madagascar’s forests now remain. Also, recent estimates suggest that 1-2 percent of Madagascar’s remaining forests are destroyed each year, and that a staggering 80-90 percent of Madagascar’s land area burns each year. Ninety percent of Madagascar’s Lemurs are moving towards complete extinction - and why? from 700 CE – 1500 when immigrants, traders and explorers arrived - wildlife and habitat began to decline gargantuanly. However based on historical fur trade records a pattern has emerged - its concerning - its continuing - and if not banned its likely other animals will suffer due to the fur trade.
“Our ancestors are not to blame”
But lets not jump the gun here blaming our own ancestors for the primary decline of wildlife and destruction of habitat. As Charles Darwin explained in the 1830’s on visiting the Malvina the Falkland Wolf was still quite commonly seen. Just as Lemurs and forest remained intact on the island of Madagascar before humans arrived, history tells us though that our ancestors mostly respected the land and wildlife however, its from years of 1800 that wildlife and habitat began declining. The Falkland’s Wolf wasn’t killed off by our ancestors as such but more - US fur traders from the 1830s, and when Scottish settlers arrived in the 1860s began raising sheep on the Island, D. australis was poisoned as a pest species too.
Is it just a mere coincidence that the Falkland Islands Wolf went extinct as soon as the fur trade began booming from the 1600’s to the 1800’s dare I ask? commercial fur trade in North America grew out of the early contact between Indians and European fisherman who were netting cod on the Grand Banks off Newfoundland and on the Bay of Gaspé near Quebec. Indians would trade the pelts of small animals, such as mink, for knives and other iron-based products, or for textiles. Exchange at first was haphazard and it was only in the late sixteenth century, when the wearing of beaver hats became fashionable, that firms were established who dealt exclusively in furs. The trade then spread to America thus seeing United States citizens hunting the Falklands Wolf into extinction. So again I question is it correct to blame our ancestors whom colonized the Falkland Islands of which Darwin stated the wolf was still commonly seen from 1830, bur more blame Canadians, Americans and Europeans for the introduction of the fur trade? That’s the problem, not colonization or immigration but sheer commercialization of an animal trade and greed.
There are some other factors of course that relate to the Falkland’s Wolf extinction. The species natural prey which was rodents were in decline too. Due to the decline of certain prey specimens this unfortunately forced the wolf into now human populated agricultural lands, hunting sheep. The Falkland’s Wolf was then seen as a pest of which settlers, mainly farmers deliberately laid poisoned traps thus decreasing populations furthermore. Its believed that the decline in rodents was primarily due to humans protecting their farms and crops. None knows for sure the entire Falkland’s Wolf diet but - ground-nesting birds such as geese and penguins, grubs and insects, as well as seashore scavenging would most likely have been common prey and foraging behavior.
The Falkland’s Wolf was killed off by greed, legal hunting and the fur trade. Its quite sad to know that after Darwin’s notes were made public the species soon became extinct some thirty years later, had them notes not been publicized - the species could still be with extant. While we have certain protocols, laws and agreements in place such as the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (Cites), and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature - history is still repeating itself, so I do at the best of times question why we have such organisations in place to protect wildlife - when its “we humans” that should be taking the stand and protecting what is left on Planet Earth. While poaching remains a significantly large threat to many large fauna such as Lions, Elephants, Rhino and aquatic wildlife. The agricultural trade, indiscriminate hunting and habitat loss remains the number one threat to all species of flora and fauna.
So, how do we stop further extinctions and declines of wildlife? Well if you’ve read this entire article all the way through (the answer is in front of you).. You’ve just got to open your eyes, absorb the information and act on it.
Dr Jose C. Depre.
Environmental and Botanical Science.
On a regular daily basis we often here within the news animal parts that are smuggled along with narcotics and fire arms too. Smuggling is big business and if it’s freely obtainable such as species of animals, and money can be made relatively quickly then it’s a job well done for the smuggler.
Regrettably animal parts smuggling we are all now aware is almost finically nearing that of narcotics and fire arms raking up some millions of dollars just for counterfeit pharmaceuticals, to clothing within the fur trade of which a single Tiger pelt can fetch up to $100,000 or more.
What we don’t view documented much on is illegal bulb/plant smuggling, and I’m not talking about the ones that light your rooms. Bulb, root stock, seed’s to even whole entire plots of land are being dug up and illegally then smuggled across the borders that is now starting to rage out of control.
Back in 1993 I worked with the Romanian border police for two months to gauge experience on this as botany is one of my specialised subjects which I hold a Bachelor’s degree on, not to mention other subjects I have studied. The trade in plant and bulb smuggling has always been big business in more or less the same way as cattle rustling to animal parts smuggling. One of the main reasons why it’s not really heard of though within news and media is because there are billions of species of plant life upon our planet to date compared to animals which are dwindling in numbers rapidly. However this does not under any circumstances mean it’s not causing environmentalists and agriculturists to horticulturists a rather nasty headache.
The smuggling of plants, bulbs, root stock to trees and seeds is fairly un-documented on within online forums to news and media so please allow me to explain how bad the problems are with regards to endangered botanical species that are being wiped out to bringing with them across international borders plant stock and seeds that are actually infested with pests and diseases that can if they take hold within a nation that has no real agricultural to botanical problems or professional agricultural and botanical management cause widespread billion dollar damage to the environment to even human health placed at risk from crop destruction through human negligence and greed.
Plant smuggling as I am going to refer to it can be dated as far back as the 1990’s but didn’t really take off until the 1950’s – 1960’s within America on large scale that saw many pests and diseases brought in to the United States of America. Smuggling of plant stock in Europe is and always has been big business in Europe dating back to the late 1890’s to present.
One very important documented seizure in the United States that I can only lay a date of around the 1950’s I have recorded below, and hadn’t it been for eagle eyed customs officers ceasing the containment then America could of faced a catastrophic agricultural and botanical nightmare causing billions upon billions of lost crop and revenue due to pest infections from foreign seed, root stock, and bulb, not to mention mass retail breakdown from cereal crop damage that the public mostly rely with regards to consumption.
The news article reads;
It was an ordinary looking package in the hands of an honest-appearing man who stepped from the steamer Charlotte M. Hall onto the Baltimore dock not so long ago.
The parcel had passed the customs officials, and had, apparently, a clear road to its destination anywhere in the United States. Yet it contained destructive agents that bade fair to wreck hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of property, and that might have left a trail of poverty and ruined homes throughout a period of many years.
Fortunately the U. S. government has eyes, concealed in unexpected places. This package aroused the suspicion of an inspector of the Plant Quarantine and Control Administration of the U. S. Department of Agriculture. He got possession of it, questioned the owner, opened the parcel, and saved the nation from a loss than can scarcely be calculated.
The passenger who landed that day from the Charlotte M. Hall was a Mississippi planter, returning from a business trip to Brazil. He was a progressive farmer, and his motive—the improvement of his cotton crop —was legitimate enough. But the package contained 59 separate sets of cotton seed, every set infested with living larvae and adults of the dread pink bollworm, the most destructive enemy of cotton in the world. Already it has destroyed the cotton industry of the Hawaiian Islands, and annually inflicts tremendous damage upon the cotton planters of Egypt, Brazil, and Mexico— in fact every great cotton growing country in the world save the United States.
Experts say that if this innocent appearing personal package had not been intercepted through the vigilance of a plant inspector, it would have carried to the heart of Mississippi enough living pink bollworms to have started an invasion of the entire state which might easily have gotten beyond control before discovery.
This incident is only one of the many thousands involving similar interceptions made annually by the inspectors of the Plant Quarantine and Control Board. Their job is to prevent plant and fruit smuggling, innocently intended, or otherwise; and their personnel, while comparatively small numerically speaking, is of the highest calibre. Inspectors are stationed at all principal ports.
Down along the Mexican border the Federal officers have their share and more of adventures, humorous and dangerous. Even some of the old-timers hardly dare put their hands in their pockets while working in certain hard-boiled communities, for fear of being shot at from behind. The license tags of their trucks carry the letters, U. S. D. A., meaning of course, United States Department of Agriculture. But thirsty souls, and there are many along the border, are prone to take a different interpretation—United States Dry-Agent! And lovers of the corn and rye like to take the law in their hands—when in doubt.
And now for some of the tricks of the smugglers! The following side splitting incident took place at the port of New York a few years ago. It seems that a woman arrived from Jamaica, and in her possession was discovered a basket containing some plants. They did not meet the current rigid requirements so a plant inspector explained that her plants could not be brought in. The good woman explained that she really wasn’t greatly interested in the plants themselves, but that she was anxious to have the soil for her prize cat to play in—he did so love to frolic about in Jamaica soil.
A tear or so appeared in the official’s eye— for he was a kindly soul. However, it did not remain there long. After being hard-hearted enough to do his duty and advise the dowager that she must return home sans the soil, he gave it the thorough Sherlock Holmes. Hardly had the good woman departed when his astonished, but no longer humanitarian eye, noted two bottles of Jamaica gin buried therein.
Joseph of Biblical fame had a coat of many colours. But the inspectors around Brownsville, Texas, and the notorious Tia Juana district, are still chuckling over the Mexican of many pockets. Some years ago this man came waddling across the border at such a slow rate that he aroused suspicion. To begin with, he was plump, but his avoirdupois seemed to be not altogether of the flesh. And it was not, as examination of his portly person revealed. Inside his coat was an ingeniously devised vest containing many pockets filled with alligator pears. Now, these delicacies are likely to contain an unwanted kind of pest. This “inventor” extraordinary was tried, found guilty, and given a stiff fine for his ambitious efforts to pull a fast one on your Uncle Samuel.
A somewhat similar incident, but of a far more serious nature, took place on the border near El Paso recently. A very dignified gentleman of middle age who claimed to be some sort of a scientist presented his trunk for Federal inspection. Nothing contraband seemed to be on hand until one of the inspectors nonchalantly plunged a hand into a bulky looking pile of the man’s coats and trousers. Encountering numerous hard objects, the inspector made a thorough investigation and found no less than 56 contraband orchid plants. That the offender’s intentions were anything but innocent was revealed by the fact that every one of the plants had been sewed painstakingly into the garments with an obvious intent to deceive. Imagine Mr Scientist’s embarrassment when he saw his well worked plans go awry, even to the point of earning a substantial fine.
Then there was the case of the American woman who crossed the Mexican border into the United States wearing an extremely full skirt of a type common to certain well known religious sects. Devout looking was this lady, yet there was a certain something about her demeanour that aroused suspicion, so a lady inspector was instructed to give her a thorough inspection. This brought out the interesting fact that the good woman had tied a huge bag, filled with contraband fruit, around her waist. Which may explain why she chose such full skirts on that eventful day?
But for sheer ingenuity, consider a package lately received by postal inspectors. At first glance it consisted of a number of heavy magazines. But their weight was so out of proportion to their size that the inspector opened the “magazines”. Whereupon he found many bunches of contraband nursery stock, alongside of which a couple of potatoes had been packed in order to afford moisture to the stock.
Other clever ruses of the smugglers are: false bottomed trunks and barrels, besides contraband fruits and plants which have been hidden in partially baked loaves of bread.
End of news article —-
Problems have gotten far worse though since this time and we cannot just blame the smuggler as it is indeed as quoted above the innocent member of the public that has travelled to local or internal continents, spied the eyes in such a beautiful species of plant of seed crop then removed that and brought it into their home nation on returning from their vacation.
Customs are now seizing daily many plant species that are non-endangered to critically endangered, to fruits vegetables and seeds all of which can and will present a massive biohazard. Its takes only one to two pests to escape from the contraband or illegally smuggled plants to enter agricultural land, or botanical crops and within one to two weeks billions in damages are caused, human life is placed in danger from hunger or famine as of infested non-edible crops, and the environment suffers more due to herbicides, insecticides, and pesticides leached in to the soil, streams and seas from chemical land run off.
Main seizures to date and current trends are that of mainly bulbs and, orchids, and seeds that can fetch on the black market millions of euros to dollars. On July 24, 2001 (ENS) - Six men were charged with crimes related to the illegal importation of internationally protected plants called cycads the men were arrested by special agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that Friday.
Cycads, which look like palms or tree ferns, are a group of plants whose ancestors date back more than 200 million years. Some cycad species are endangered or threatened in the wild from habitat loss and over-collection from botanical enthusiasts to general members of the public that are looking at sparking the garden up with lush green tropical growth without realising the mass damage they are causing to the environment and potentially other crops.
Cycads are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), a treaty through which the United States and more than 150 other countries regulate global trade in imperilled animals and plants, these palm like tropical species of plant are the most desired simply because of their appearance.
The idiotic and selfish individuals that where arrested are Peter Heibloem, 47, of Queensland, Australia, and Ernest Bouwer, 56, of Sandton, South Africa, were arrested that Friday and charged with 15 counts of conspiracy, smuggling, and making false statements in an indictment unsealed that Friday in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco.
According to the indictment, Heibloem, Bouwer, and three others charged - John Baker of Gauteng, South Africa, Ian Turner of Harare, Zimbabwe, and Rolf Kyburz, of Queensland, Australia - sent approximately $542,000 worth of protected cycads to the United States from South Africa, Australia, and Zimbabwe, had ANY pests and diseases escaped into the atmosphere that could of caused potential mass crop damage thus endangering human and animal life to even killing through crop famine then the men could have been looking at a potential death sentence or lengthy stay behind bars.
Also charged in the indictment and arrested on that Friday, July 20, is Donald Joseph Wiener, 64, of Mexico. He is alleged to have knowingly purchased approximately $200,000 worth of these plants from Heibloem.
Rolf Bauer, 44, of Johannesburg, South Africa, and Jan Van Vuuren, 54, of Centurion, South Africa, also arrested on that same Friday, are charged with conspiracy, smuggling, and making false statements in a separate 29 count indictment unsealed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.
According to the indictment, these two men sent more than $300,000 worth of protected cycads to the United States from South Africa. They allegedly used invalid CITES permits for the commercial shipments and falsely labelled many of the plants to cover up the lack of a valid permit.
The Service investigation also resulted in charges against three individuals accused of trafficking in protected orchids. Antonius Juniarto of Surabaya, Indonesia, and Iwan Kolopaking of Jakarta,
Indonesia, have been indicted in the Northern District of California on 21 counts of conspiracy, smuggling, and false statements related to the shipment of CITES Appendix I orchids into the United States from Indonesia.
Both remain at large and to this day 2013 have yet to be brought to justice. According to the indictment, the two men sent multiple packages of orchids through the mail with customs declarations falsely identifying the contents as toys. A separate indictment in the Northern District of California charges Terence Leung of Hong Kong with four counts of smuggling related to shipments of CITES Appendix II orchids from Hong Kong into the United States. Leung also remains at large to this date of 2013. If you know of these men, seen or are living please contact International Animal Rescue Foundation’s Conservation Investigation Crime Unit (CICU) at firstname.lastname@example.org immediately, alternatively you can contact your local sheriff.
The maximum penalty for each of the charges against these men is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. An indictment contains allegations against an individual, and all defendants must be presumed innocent of the charges against them unless they are convicted.
The smuggling of plants is BIG business and also very dangerous to the environment that is not being documented on enough throughout animal and environmental sectors and now has to be taken seriously and indeed much awareness has to ploughed throughout the community to help nail the smugglers but also to educate the public on the dangers of brining contraband through the ports.
Rare plants have also been a target for smugglers, with one high-profile bust in June 2011 catching two Dutch citizens trying to take 57 rare inverted tulip bulbs out of Turkey, along with more than 5,000 flower seeds and roots from 160 endemic species. Though the Dutch are often associated with tulips, the flowers actually have their origin in Turkey and other western Mediterranean countries — the inverted tulip grows only in a specific region of Erzurum, Turkey. Taking endemic species outside of the country without official permission is illegal in Turkey.
Illegal attempts to spirit endemic species out of the country appear to be on the rise in Turkey, where officials have recently busted a number of would-be smugglers with large cargos of butterflies and other insects, as well as rare tulips and other plants. A group of people trying to leave the country by car through Bulgaria were apprehended in 2011 with thousands of bugs hidden away in boxes and tubes, the Anatolia news agency reported. Biology professors who examined the cache “identified 6,014 bugs from 48 different species, including ladybugs, cockroaches, and various types of stag beetles, grasshoppers, flies, and bees” from the Black Sea region and the northern part of Central Anatolia. The haul was reportedly worth 500,000 Turkish Liras, or about $300,000.
Agricultural damage and food shortage;
When plants and plant products are imported or smuggled to the EU and other nations, there is a risk that quarantine pests come with them. Quarantine pests are serious plant pests like insects, mites, nematodes, fungi, bacteria, virus and similar organisms that have no or limited presence in the EU and that may cause large financial consequences if they spread here.
EU and international countries have common rules on the import of plants. These rules apply to both private individuals and to companies. However, there are certain exceptions for private individuals. You can locate more information here https://www.ippc.int/index.php?id=nppoAUS please type into the search engine what nation your wish to view that will show a list of current agricultural and botanical problems to date.
Indian medicinal plants are in great demand in the international market. Varieties like the saptarangi plants (Salacia Reticulate) and guvada (Mappia Foetida) medicinal plants are abundantly available in the forests of Khanapur, Bheemgad, Talewadi, Aamgaon Holda regions of Belgaum district. Medicinal plants are found in abundance at Kuveshi, Mayare, Castle Rock and Anamod forest regions near Diggi in Joida taluk.
Spices like Dalchini Moggu (cinnamon buds) and its leaves are also smuggled out. The Forest officers had seized a lorry transporting guvada leaves about three months ago near Jagalpet. The department has to its credit a few such cases. The medicine prepared from guvada leaves is useful in treating cancer and liver conditions and is in great demand in China and Japan, according to a forest officer.
Innocent people residing in the forests of the border areas are roped in for smuggling. Dearth of staff in the Forest department is a major setback in tackling illegal activities. Since most of the staff is aged around 50, they are unable to conduct surprise raids. A team of enthusiastic youth is required in the department to tackle the menace, says the forest officer.
The Wildlife Enforcement Group is calling for more awareness of illegal plant trading, as smugglers earn tens of thousands of dollars selling endangered New Zealand orchids overseas.
Two men from Czech Republic have been charged under the Trade in Endangered Species Act after allegedly trying to smuggle a number of threatened and protected orchid species taken from national parks out of New Zealand.
The Wildlife Enforcement Group’s investigator, Peter Younger, says there’s a huge demand because many of New Zealand’s orchid species are unique. He says the illegal trade in plants doesn’t attract the same attention as other endangered species.
The Wildlife Enforcement Group has officers from Customs, the Department of Conservation and Ministry of Agriculture. Younger says illegal trade in plants gets overlooked by enforcement agencies compared to more glamorous endangered species like elephants or pandas. Younger says more resources are needed to combat growing orchid smuggling.
A spokesperson for the Customs Service, Rochelle Turnbull, says the orchids are very attractive to international traders as many self-pollinate and are very rare. The accused smugglers appeared in Manukau District Court on Monday. They were remanded without plea.
For information on Australian biosecurity please view here http://www.dfat.gov.au/facts/quarantine.html
Plants that are most commonly smuggled are;
- Endangered tulips
- Snow drops
- Snakes head lily
- Lille’s (general)
- Spices and herbs
- Root stock
- Wild species (mostly illegal to excavate in most EU and International nations)
Some of the most invasive pests and diseases that can come with illegally imported stock / contraband
- Fire fly
- Green fly
- Black fly
- Fruit fly larvae
- Brown citrus aphid
- Citrus leaf minor
- Leaf minors (general)
- Oriental fruit flies
- Asian citrus Psyllid
- Small hive beetle
- Bromeliad weevil
- Cactus moth
- Mexican fruit fly
- Tropical soda apple – please read here http://plants.ifas.ufl.edu/node/426
Damage to crops and other botanical species can be vast in scale and also life threatening;
Primary Industries Minister David Carter explained in June 2012 the new Biosecurity Recovery Framework will run alongside existing support for farmers who suffer from droughts and floods.
“The government recognises that biosecurity incursions can have economic, environmental and social impacts that can hit production businesses hard and take time to recover from,”
“The new framework will make recovery measures available to people seriously impacted by a disease or pest incursion.”
In 1978, the horror movie, “The Swarm,” hit the nation’s theatres, featuring vast hordes of killer bees that wreaked havoc in south Texas. Chock a block with big name stars — Henry Fonda, Olivia de Havilland, Michael Caine, Richard Widmark, Fred MacMurray, Richard Chamberlain, Ben Johnson, Lee Grant, Patty Duke, Slim Pickens — the $21 million production (a lot of money in that era) was a colossal box office bomb, lasting only a couple of weeks in theatres. Although it was subsequently labelled one of the worst disaster movies ever, four decades later it enjoys something of cult status among horror movie buffs.
“It was a cheesy movie,” says Blake Layton, Mississippi State University Extension entomology professor, “but it was also somewhat prophetic in that we’ve seen Africanized honeybees, which were dubbed ‘killer bees,’ move into the southern U.S. and become established.”
While not nearly so dramatic on a human scale as in the old movie, many non-native pests, from fire ants to slithery, slimy worm-like creatures, have come into the U.S. and made themselves at home, often causing widespread economic damage and other disruptions to life and commerce, he said at a recent meeting of the Starkville, Miss., Ag Club.
“So, in reality, we can say ‘the swarm’ is still coming.”
Africanized honeybees, which are a sub-species of the common European honeybees, came into Texas in 1990 and have spread from there, Layton says.
“Their movement has been more westward than east, although they’re in south Louisiana, only two parishes away from Mississippi. They are much more aggressive than our native honeybees. When they do move into Mississippi, it will change the way we deal with honeybees.
“Even our ‘native’ honeybees aren’t native; they were brought here by settlers from Europe. The Indians called them ‘white man’s flies.’”
There are more than 1,700 significant insect pest species in the U.S., Layton says, and half or more have been introduced in one way or another.
“The boll weevil is a prime example of how a non-native pest can move in and wreak economic havoc,” he says. “It cost Mississippi farmers millions of dollars before it was finally eradicated. We’ve not had a boll weevil in the state in more than two years.”
Imported fire ants have spread across most of the lower Southeast and across south Texas and into parts of Oklahoma.
“Thus far, we’ve not been able to stop them,” Layton says, “and there’s nothing on the horizon that promises to halt their spread.”
Another species, Argentine ants, “have been here for a long time, but haven’t spread as fast as fire ants. South of Jackson, Miss., they’re quite abundant. They don’t sting or build visible mounds, and they’ll run off fire ants. The difference is that they will come inside houses and other buildings.”
Bio Insect Terrorism;
Following the 9/11 attacks the U.S. government assigned hundreds of agricultural scientists responsible for stopping invasive species at the border to anti-terrorism duties. The result has been that dozens of foreign insects and plant diseases managed to slip undetected into the United States
Experts now say that the problem has reached the point where the quality of the U.S. food supply is under threat. The economic damage is not in dispute: scientists say that the foreign pest explosion cost billions of dollars in crop damage and eradication efforts from California vineyards to Florida citrus groves.
Horrifying Biosecurity facts;
- Nineteen Mediterranean fruit fly infestations took hold in California, and the European grapevine moth triggered spraying and quarantines in California’s wine country.
- The Asian citrus psyllid, which can carry a disease that has decimated Florida orange groves, crossed the border from Mexico, threatening California’s $1.8 billion citrus industry.
- New Zealand’s light brown apple moth was detected in California, prompting the government in 2008 to bombard the Monterey Bay area with 1,600 pounds of pesticides. The spraying caused respiratory problems and killed birds. Officials spent $110 million to eradicate the moth, but the effort failed.
- The sweet orange scab, a fungal disease that infects citrus, appeared in Florida, Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, leading the states to impose quarantines.
- Chili thrips, rice cutworms and the plant disease gladiolus rust also got into Florida, which experienced a 27 per cent increase in new pests and pathogens between 2003 and 2007.
- The erythrina gall wasp decimated Hawaii’s wiliwili trees, which bear seeds used to make leis.
- Forests from Minnesota to Washington State were also affected by beetles such as the emerald ash borer, many of which arrived in Chinese shipping pallets.
The number of pest cases intercepted at U.S. ports of entry fell from more than 81,200 in 2002 to fewer than 58,500 in 2006, before climbing back up in 2007, after complaints from the farm industry. The situation for 2012 is now completely out of control and it’s becoming worse with the illegal smuggling of plant, bulb, seed, and other non-native pests and diseases.
December 2012 - Investigators from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry discovered the Asian tiger mosquitoes (Aedes albopictus) inside two glasshouses at a quarantine station on Melbourne’s outskirts.
The department says the mosquitoes can carry dengue fever. Spokesman Wayne Terpstra says they represent a potential risk to human health. “They are a known vector for what they call arboviruses, such as dengue fever,” he said. “So they do pose a health risk for humans if they were to establish.” The department says that no Asian tiger mosquitoes have been found outside the glasshouses.
The plants will be destroyed and the quarantine stations sprayed with insecticide. Officials say further investigations are underway to confirm all mosquitoes have been exterminated.
Should the plant/seed/bulb and other green stock smuggling not halt then we are/could be looking at a potentially dangerous situation here that would cause widespread famine, hunger, to cereal crop prices shooting out of the window because of stock having to be imported.
Animal parts smuggling is just as big on the black market than it is with plants, narcotics and fire arms with plant smuggling now being named as the new “animal parts trade” and it’s being primarily fuelled by the current trend hitting of internationally with regards to alternative traditional Chinese medicine and traditional Indian medicine. We are playing with fire and the general public are not taking this seriously.
Customs officers are doing all they can to seize the most potentially dangerous bio hazard stocks, but like I have explained it only takes one or more non-native insect species to enter the biosphere then we could be looking at dangerous consequences for all.
In November 2012 it was again reported;
A large tract of paddy crops has been damaged due to invasion of Leda (swarming caterpillar) insect which has ruined the economy of the thousands of farmers in the district here.
“Help from the administration, however, is yet to reach the villagers, more than three weeks after the first swarm of insects arrived here to ruin this year’s paddy. The insects are black in colour and measuring less than an inch in length. Most of the crops have been destroyed in the area by the insects. The farmers, who are hardly able to fight against the pests, now hope to reap less than one-eighth of their usual harvest. The first batch of pests arrived three weeks before,” said district Krusaka Sabha secretary Gayadhar Dhal.
About 8,000 hectares of paddy have been affected due to insect attack, alleged Dhal. However, the district agriculture officer said that only 487 hectares of paddy fields in the district were affected.
“After arriving, the pests first settle on the inner surface of the young leaves of the paddy plant. Usually, two insects share a single leaf. Each insect lay at least 50 eggs before being shaken off the leaf .The eggs are hatched within a week and the new-born insects stay back, drawing sustenance from the young, green leaves. When they leave, the leaf is dead and its colour is rendered pale white,” described an official.
A large patch under paddy crop in Bari, Dharmasala, Binjharpur and Badachana area turned white from their usual leafy green. The rich farmers tried to prevent the onslaught by spraying insecticides on the plants, but this only helped widening the rich-poor gulf. The pests, fleeing from the insecticides-applied areas, took position in the neighbouring fields, where the farmers could not afford to buy the costly chemicals and apply them, said the farmer leader.
The smaller farmers, therefore, lost all their saplings. One of them is Rakesh Samal, a resident of Bari. He has five acres of land and had invested Rs 5,000 this year for paddy cultivation. Last year, the land yielded sufficient profits for him. But this year, he is a worried man as he has lost all hopes of getting a good harvest. The condition of bigger farmers like Gatikrushna Rout of the same village is only slightly better. His family owns eight acres of land. Last year, each acre gave him 80 quintals of paddy. However, this year, after spending several hundred rupees on insecticides, he hopes to get, on an average, only 40 quintals from an acre, said Rout.
The villagers are sore at the lack of response from the administration. Several pleas have been made at the block development office but no official has turned up till date, the farmers complained.
The district agriculture officials have also been paying only lip-service towards their problems, alleged many farmers by not providing pesticides to the affected farmers.
When contacted, the district agriculture officer told this paper, “Twelve mobile groups of the agricultural office have been providing medicines to the farmers to save their paddy from the insects. A senior official from the Agricultural department visited some of the insect-affected paddy fields on Saturday and would give his report on the situation soon.” He added that, for the time being, the department has been freely distributing pesticides to the farmers to tackle the menace.
As angry as I am writing this it does not get any better, SOIL is also being smuggled not to mention tea leaves, tea plants, and now TOBACCO PLANTS to grow in European homes due to the crackdown on illegally imported tobacco that is costing the Inland Revenue department millions in lost revenue. The smugglers then go to real professional lengths and purchase the machinery from Asia or the Americas to then “process and make” their dangerous and potentially killer cigarettes. August 2012 http://www.customs.gov.sg/NR/rdonlyres/6185D945-DC37-4EA6-B5B7-3EC35CC8C60E/24314/PressReleaseonsmuggledsoilwebcopy.pdf soil smuggled “and this would have been used for one thing only (narcotics). This soil could off caused an entire nation to lose billions from foreign crop pests placing human and animal life in massive danger.
PLEASE DO NOT BRING PLANTS, SEEDS, FRUIT, OR OTHER PROHIBITED CONTRABAND INTO THE NATIONS THAT YOU ARE VISITING, PLEASE BE AWARE OF THE BIOHAZERDS IF YOU ARE UNSURE PLEASE CONTACT US ON;
Dr J C Dimetri V.M.D, B.E.S, Ma, PhD , MEnvSc
Chief Executive Officer
The video above may be a little confusing with regards to the language barrier. What is actually ongoing is the illegal importation of Khat, Khat is used as a medicinal hallucinogenic that reaches many nations all over the world in non-plant form in a powder like substance. Customs just allowed this illegal import to enter from Ethiopia, that was in PLANT form carrying some masses of plant bio hazards. The potential for many pests and diseases to leak from this plant importation is colossal and what damage it has done to nation will never be known. What damage this is doing to other nations though is VERY well known as many people travel to distant or local nations with this drug that’s similar to Ecstasy with the drug in PLANT form that they the chew on to obtain the desired effects.
By illegally importing other plants and bulbs you could face mass criminal charges. These pests below the Soda Apple caused massive crop infestation in the USA wiping out billions in lost crops.
Try and smuggle into Australia then THINK AGAIN, Australia has one of the tightest border controls in the world.
Or you could be caught by “armed narcotic gangs” the choice is your’s but whatever you do please keep your botanical species in your own nations and DON’T bring them into others or you could be facing stiff penalties to even life imprisonment;