Invasive Species – The Mongoose

Mongoose-1

Most people know…

that invasive species are bad for the places where they were imported. Plants especially can have a negative economic impact, the damage being done by invasive plants is estimated at $34.7 billion a year in the US. I have no idea how they calculate that high figure, but the main problem is the plants and animals causing the environmental harm are generally ones that were imported by people. And when it is an animal, I am far more sympathetic for that creature.

Mongoose

The mongoose shown in this post is on the island of Maui and was brought in to control rats. You would think that before the animal was imported, someone would have figured out that rats roam around nocturnally and the mongoose is a daytime predator. Sure they eat rats, but not enough of them to control the population. Instead, native bird populations started crashing soon after their arrival.

Mongooses were brought to the islands by the sugar industry to cut down on rats in the cane fields, but the Mongoose had other animals eyed up on its menu.

The mongoose started eating ground nesting birds and eggs almost making the native Newell’s shearwaters and Nene Hawaiian Goose go extinct. I don’t have a photo of the gull or goose, but I also did not see an abundance of Mongoose either. They are a bit shy.

Mongoose-3

The only way for an invasive species to get to the Hawaiian Islands is either fly or swim across the Pacific, or be brought by people. To me, it really seems a travesty since the Mongoose was unwillingly imported here, yet now they are hunted and killed just for doing what they were designed to do. When will people learn? Who will save us from ourselves?

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31 Responses to Invasive Species – The Mongoose

  1. eulalia says:

    Dear Donna.

    I completely agree with you. Here in Colombia, south america, where I live, a famous drug dealer brought during the 80’s some hippos…. since the habitat is very similar to the part of Africa where they belong, they began to reproduce and now, people, who reproduce themselves in an irresponsive manner have decided that the hippos are a threat to fishermen and some people had even killed them….

    The hippos are just being hippos and I guess trying to tell us that we, humans are too many… but now, people keep blaming them for their problems….

  2. aussiebirder says:

    Important truth Donna, we experience the same problem with introduced ferile cats and foxes, killing native nestings and small animals, many now extinct.

    • donna213 says:

      Foxes? That is news to me. I never heard about foxes imported. It makes sense though they would predate on nestlings. The feral cats are everywhere I believe. They are one very adaptable animal.

      • aussiebirder says:

        Yes the introduced red fox is constantly a problem for fauna conservation. Poison program’s are constantly being undertaken. My sister in law lost all their chooks to foxes recently, and they live in Canberra area. The largest concern is in Tasmania where the Platypus is in largest numbers and was unthreatened but there is fear that there is now a breeding pair there. Febrile cats and domestic cats have almost devistated Superb Lyrebird populations, especially in Victoria.

        • donna213 says:

          It really is sad when introduced animals cause all these problems for the native animals and plants. I would love to see a Platypus. I think they are the neatest animal, all those different parts in one.

          • aussiebirder says:

            Platypus are not that common hear on the mainland any more, only in rivers in national parks well away from people, most we’re killed for there pelts and by dogs, foxes and cats years ago. They are nocturnal like most Aussie animals and you have to wait near where they live under the river bank at sunset or dawn to see them.

  3. alesiablogs says:

    I think I saw that fella in Maui~!

  4. That is the question isn’t it…when?

  5. lucindalines says:

    Good point, I don’t believe we will ever learn.

  6. My Heartsong says:

    the less we interfere…

  7. Humankind wil not learn, they wil get even worse.
    We had a asian squirl here last years and they threatened ore own red squirl. So all the asians had to be catched and killed. Better save then sorry is a saying not many people have in mind these days.

  8. Yet, another case of mindless human intervention… and yes, we never learn. It also seems that every time we mess things up, the solution is “kill”. Double stupidity.

  9. You should read the novel “When the Killing’s Done” by T. C. Boyle.

  10. Phil Lanoue says:

    Wow I had no idea! Very informative with excellent photos.

  11. milliontrees says:

    The mongoose is one of many animals being eradicated on Hawaii. The coqui frog is a good example of the animal holocaust taking place on Hawaii. It is a tiny creature, which eats insects. There are no native frogs on Hawaii, so the coqui isn’t competition for a native animal. It is being killed with a concentrated caffeine-based pesticide solely because it isn’t native. More recently, Hawaiian Dept of “Natural” Resources announced that they will kill all barn owls and egrets.

    Here’s an article in which a Hawaiian critiques the eradication strategy on Hawaii: http://milliontrees.me/2012/01/17/nativism-the-hawaiian-case/

    Most of these animals are not doing any plant or animal any harm. Perhaps the mongoose is an exception to that general rule. However, I have heard so many bogus claims made to support these murderous projects, that I am skeptical.

  12. Even with the best motives we create so many unintended consequences.

  13. Lyle Krahn says:

    I have great memories of the mongoose from our trip to the Big Island. The story of their arrival, though, is both humorous and sad. I don’t think we will learn quickly.

  14. Pat says:

    Great information and wonderful captures of the mongoose.

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