Pigs to the Rescue: An Invasive Species Helped Save Australia’s Crocodiles

Despite such variations and dietary shifts amongst apex predators, invasive species are nonetheless successful. In Australia in 2015, for instance, the nation’s then-Threatened Species Commissioner instructed the nationwide broadcaster that “Australia has lost 29 mammals since European colonization, and feral predators are implicated in 28 of these extinctions.”

Florida faces comparable invasion issues as a result of it hosts an excellent mixture of a subtropical local weather, a thriving pet commerce and a number of ports of entry. The outcome, mentioned Ian Bartoszek, a wildlife biologist with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, is that the state has “more established, nonnative animal species than any country in the world.” Or, as Dr. Mazzotti mentioned about the Everglades, “I’m getting ready to call it the Everglades Invasive Reptile National Park.”

Even in the Everglades, there are pockets of excellent information. As Burmese pythons eat their means via the Everglades’ medium-sized mammals that devour reptile eggs it’s doable, in accordance to Mr. Bartoszek, that loggerhead sea turtles and the susceptible American crocodile may benefit.

The impression on alligators is much less clear. Although there’s not but information to affirm it, “It feels like the alligator is holding the line, and the alligator is most likely responsible for more python predation than we’ve given them credit for,” Mr. Bartoszek mentioned. “The python has found its niche in the marshlands and those areas where there aren’t permanent water bodies where alligators don’t patrol. But in those deeper, more permanent water areas, the alligator has, I believe, locked onto the python, and is definitely doing us a service here.”

These are, to date, comparatively small victories in the wider effort to fight invasive species. According to Mr. Bartoszek, 47 chicken species, 24 mammal species and two reptile species have been present in the bellies of pythons.

And in the United States, like in Australia, it would take greater than crocodiles and alligators to restrict such pests. Where apex predators feed on invasive species, a lot stays unsure. “Are there clear examples where a single species can and has benefited from an invasive species? You bet,” Dr. Mazzotti mentioned. “What are the other repercussions? We’re a lot less certain about that.”


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