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The bird raised in Lithuania added to the EU List of Invasive Alien Species


In 2017, the EU List of Invasive Alien Species was supplemented with another 12 alien plant and animal species in Europe. Now it includes the species that are raised for various purposes or are popular in Lithuania, such as mongoose, muskrat, Himalayan balsam, common milkweed, and crimson fountaingrass, and the plant species that cannot be found in our country yet, namely, Chilean rhubarb, microstegium, alligator weed, various-leaved water-milfoil, and giant hogweed. This List also includes the Egyptian goose, an aggressive bird species that is a rapidly spreading in Europe.

In Lithuania, the Egyptian goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus) is detected very rarely; however, it might spread in our country as well. It is raised as a decorative bird in private collections; therefore, in order to continue to keep these birds, one must obtain a permit and comply with the set requirements. The natural habitat of the Egyptian goose is Africa. This birds lives around 14 years, weighs 1.5–2.3 kg, and its height is 63–73 cm. Its back is dark brown; the wings are dark, with a green metallic shade. When the bird flies, wide white spots can be clearly seen on its wings. Its long legs and the beak are pinkish red.

As an invasive species, the Egyptian goose is already prevailing and has a negative impact in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Sweden, Cyprus, Denmark, and Poland, but it can also spread across Europe as well. The species poses a threat because it spreads new diseases and it can be a spreader of bird flu; besides, it interbreeds with local goose species and is aggressive towards other birds. In locations where the Egyptian goose is widely spread, it causes damage to crops and grasslands.

Currently, the EU List of Invasive Species approved by the European Commission already includes 49 invasive alien plant and animal species found in EU Member States. Environmental specialists remind that it is allowed to use live animals, viable plants, mushrooms and other microorganisms and their viable parts, where they are included into this List as invasive species, provided that the respective permit issued by the Environmental Protection Agency has been obtained.

It is strictly prohibited to keep, breed, raise, reproduce, use, exchange, transport or release into the wild these invasive species. As the aforementioned List also includes animal and plant species kept or raised by private persons, zoological and botanical gardens or other organisations, the European Commission has set transitional periods for the owners of such species. For example, the individuals who keep invasive species acquired before they have been included into the EU List of Invasive Alien Species for commercial purposes will have to hand over or sell them to the persons who have the permit to keep such species no later than within two years, or to hand them over to other persons for use for non-commercial purposes under the established requirements within one year after the inclusion of such species into this List.

Public Relations Division
15 December 2017

Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas
Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas