Rapid responses against invasive species on islands: lessons from the introduced Barbary ground squirrel Atlantoxerus getulus in the Canary Islands.
Despite efforts to combat invasive species, further measures are still required to prevent their arrival and translocation, especially into biodiverse island ecosystems. Although many governments worldwide have already established protocols to control alien species, the European outermost regions have yet to implement fully effective prevention or rapid response procedures. The numerous translocations of the invasive Barbary ground squirrel Atlantoxerus getulus within the Canary Islands illustrate this problem. From 1996 to 2016 at least 2.1 individuals per year have been moved from Fuerteventura to other islands. If movements of these medium-sized vertebrates are taking place regularly, the number of smaller species transported within the archipelago could potentially be greater. We argue that it is essential to implement stricter strategies for invasive species control in these remote biodiversity-rich islands, including early detection and rapid response, to minimize impacts on native biodiversity.