Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Animal production (pathway cause)

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Datasheet

Animal production (pathway cause)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 13 July 2017
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Pathway Cause
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Animal production (pathway cause)
  • Overview
  • Feral populations of domesticated livestock comprise some of the most invasive species in the world in terms of impact. Goats, sheep, pigs, cattle, deer and rabbits have proved devastating to local flora and fauna, es...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Free-ranging goats spreading the highly invasive shrub Prosopis juliflora, by eating the sweet pods and excreting viable seeds over a wide area. Baringo District, Kenya.
TitleFree-ranging goats
CaptionFree-ranging goats spreading the highly invasive shrub Prosopis juliflora, by eating the sweet pods and excreting viable seeds over a wide area. Baringo District, Kenya.
CopyrightN.M. Pasiecznik
Free-ranging goats spreading the highly invasive shrub Prosopis juliflora, by eating the sweet pods and excreting viable seeds over a wide area. Baringo District, Kenya.
Free-ranging goatsFree-ranging goats spreading the highly invasive shrub Prosopis juliflora, by eating the sweet pods and excreting viable seeds over a wide area. Baringo District, Kenya.N.M. Pasiecznik
A farmer showing a seeding of Prosopis juliflora just pulled from a nearby pile of cow dung. Baringo District, Kenya.
TitleA farmer showing a seeding of Prosopis juliflora
CaptionA farmer showing a seeding of Prosopis juliflora just pulled from a nearby pile of cow dung. Baringo District, Kenya.
CopyrightN.M. Pasiecznik
A farmer showing a seeding of Prosopis juliflora just pulled from a nearby pile of cow dung. Baringo District, Kenya.
A farmer showing a seeding of Prosopis julifloraA farmer showing a seeding of Prosopis juliflora just pulled from a nearby pile of cow dung. Baringo District, Kenya.N.M. Pasiecznik

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Animal production (pathway cause)

International Common Names

  • French: Production animal
  • Portuguese: Produção animal

Local Common Names

  • : Elevage
  • : Livestock rearing
  • Portugal: Pecuária

Overview

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Feral populations of domesticated livestock comprise some of the most invasive species in the world in terms of impact. Goats, sheep, pigs, cattle, deer and rabbits have proved devastating to local flora and fauna, especially on small islands. Control is also hampered as they often provide valuable meat for local people. Several animals introduced for fur production are also amongst the worst invasive species, including the ermine and coypu. Livestock as vectors are also a significant cause of long distance introduction (via trade in live animals) and local spread (from trade and extensive grazing) of a wide range of invasive pests and diseases, mainly animal pests and pathogens, and weed seeds.

Description

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Summary of organism types or species introduced

Domesticated animals introduced as livestock primarily for meat and milk are probably the most important group, and which became feral, including pigs (Sus scrofa), goats (Capra hircus), sheep (Ovis aries, Ovis ammon), cattle (Bos taurus), donkeys (Equus asinus), rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and various species of deer (Cervus spp.). Also important are mammals introduced for the production of fur which subsequently escaped and naturalized, including the coypu (Myocastor coypus), American mink (Mustela vison), ermine(Mustela erminea), weasel (Mustela nivalis) and ferret (Mustela furo), the latter being the domesticated form of the European pole-cat (Mustela putorius). Less significant organism types intentionally introduced internationally are birds introduced as game, and insects for honey production or as pollinators, most notably the Africanized honeybee (Apis mellifera scutellata) and various Bombus spp.

Where livestock act as a vector, two main organism types are transported. The main groups include almost all animal pests and pathogens, and most are known to be carried by this means (see the Animal Health and Production Compendium (http://www.cabi.org/ahpc/) and OIE websites (http://www.oie.int/) for comprehensive lists and information on each). Invasive plants are the other main organism type introduced and spread by livestock as vectors, either internally or externally. Forage plants have also been introduced intentionally to feed livestock, or accidentally as fodder accompanying live animal movements.

Principle processes

Five principle process of invasive species movement through animal production have been identified, separated also by the main organism types as identified above.

(1) The introduction of animals, and either intentional release or accidental escape.

(2) The accidental introduction of animal pests and pathogens using livestock as the vector.

(3) The accidental introduction of weeds (internally or externally) using livestock as the vector.

(4) The accidental introduction of weeds as seeds, using stored fodder as the commodity.

(5) The intentional introduction of forage plants, followed by escape from cultivation.
 
The animals themselves and their diseases can be both internationally introduced and locally dispersed by animal production. However, the movement of weed seeds, either via digestion/excretion, or via seeds stuck to wool or mud, etc., is much more likely to involve short-distance dispersal rather than international introduction, though there are rare cases where weed seeds are carried in the gut and passed out on arrival at a new destination, or weed seeds are carried in the wool or fur of transported animals, or in mud stuck to their hooves or other body parts.

Note, the term ‘animals’ is mainly used to describe mammals, though birds and insects are included. Bees are also known to be vectors, for example, and their movement has been attributed to the introduction of the varroa mite (Varroa destructor), a major pest of bee colonies.

Human-mediated history
 
There is long history of the movement of domesticated animals around the world, beginning with the Egyptians bring domesticated goats from the Middle East to Africa some 10,000 years ago. The arrival of extensively grazed herds of small ruminants is likely to have had effects on local vegetation even then. Thus, early routes followed the introduction of the first domesticated animals. However, the first significant negative impacts to be recorded from feral populations were after sailors had left goats, pigs and other animals on isolated oceanic islands during their travels, as a source of food on return or subsequent journeys. Left to themselves, they were highly destructive, and many endemic island species are likely to have become extinct even before any formal scientific records were made of them. Increased trade in live animals in recent history has allowed the sometimes rapid and certainly global spread of a number of livestock pests and pathogens, and also weeds, which continues to this day.

Species Transported by Cause

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SpeciesNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Acacia hockii Yes Gwyne, 1969
Acanthospermum australe (spiny-bur) Yes
Aegilops cylindrica Yes Yes
Aethina tumidaOn bees Yes Yes OIE, 2012
Agave sisalana (sisal hemp)Sisal leaf waste has been used for cattle and rabbit feed Yes FAO, 2012
Alopecurus pratensis (meadow foxtail) Yes Yes USDA-ARS, 2015
Ammotragus lervia (aoudad)In the USA and Spain animals were transported as game to private estates Yes Cassinello et al., 2004; Gray, 1985
Andropogon virginicus (broomsedge) Yes
Argemone ochroleuca (pale Mexican pricklypoppy) Yes Reseigh and Shepherd, 2010
Atriplex argentea (silverscale saltbush) Yes
Atriplex semibaccata (Australian saltbush) Yes
Avipoxvirus Yes Yes
Axonopus fissifolius Yes Yes
Bassia hyssopifolia (fivehook bassia) Yes Yes
Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) Yes Mazzoni et al., 2003; Schloegel et al., 2010
Bos bison (American bison)Common, deliberate Yes Yes
Bos taurus (cattle) Yes Yes
Bubalus bubalis (Asian water buffalo)For meat and milk, and as a draught animal Yes Yes Borghese, 2005; Cockrill, 1977
Bunias orientalis (Turkish warty-cabbage) Yes Yes
Calliandra houstoniana var. calothyrsus (calliandra) Yes Yes
Calopogonium caeruleum (jicama)Green manure in pasture lands Yes Yes Cook et al., 2005
camelpox virusCMLV is transmitted by direct contact with sick animals through skin abrasions or via aerosols. Yes Duraffour et al., 2011; Wernery and Kaaden, 2002
Capra hircus (goats) Yes
Castor canadensis (beaver) Yes
Cavia porcellus (domesticated guinea pig)Throughout Latin America and parts of West Africa Yes Maass et al., 2014; Nowak, 1999
Cenchrus biflorus (Indian sandbur) Yes
Centaurea iberica Yes
Cervus elaphus (red deer)Farmed deer in many countries are a risk when they escape Yes
Chrysomya bezziana (Old World screw-worm)Movements of infested humans, stock or wildlife Yes Yes Spradbery, 1994
Claviceps fusiformis (pearl millet ergot)New forage crops Yes Gwyne, 1969
Clitoria ternatea (butterfly-pea)Planted for forage, hay and silage Yes Yes Staples, 1992
Cochliomyia hominivorax (New World screwworm)Moderate risk with movement of infested animals Yes Yes
Columba livia (pigeons) Yes Yes
Cornu aspersum (common garden snail) Yes Yes
Crassostrea virginica (eastern oyster)Shell - poultry grit Yes
Cuphea carthagenensis (Colombian waxweed) Yes Hurst, 1978
Cynodon nlemfuensis (African Bermuda-grass)Pastures, forage, hay, silage Yes Yes Cook et al., 2005
Cynodon plectostachyus (African stargrass)Cultivated as pasture grass Yes Yes Cook et al., 2005
Cyprinus carpio (common carp) Yes Yes Roberts and Ebner, 1997
Dactylis glomerata (cocksfoot) Yes Yes
Desmodium incanum (creeping beggerweed)Stick-tight mechanism permits adherence to animals Yes Yes Mori and Brown, 1998
Dichanthium annulatum (Kleberg's bluestem)Used as silage and hay Yes Yes Cook et al., 2005
Dichanthium caricosum (nadi blue grass)Permanent grazing pasture Yes Yes Cook et al., 2005
Digitaria eriantha (pangola grass)The species is cultivated as forage/fodder for livestock. Yes Yes Tropical Forages, 2016
Echinochloa pyramidalis Yes
Equus caballus [ISC] (horse) Yes Yes
Eragrostis plana (South African lovegrass)Disseminated through livestock commerce Yes Yes Gwyne, 1969; Gwyne, 1969
Halogeton glomeratus (halogeton) Yes
Hymenachne amplexicaulis (hymenachne)Deliberate plantings for cattle grazing escaped through drainage systems to colonize agricultural, u Yes Yes Australian Weeds Committee, 2012
Imperata cylindrica (cogon grass) Yes Yes
Jatropha gossypiifolia (bellyache bush) Yes
Juncus ensifolius (swordleaf rush)Accidentally transported in hooves, faeces, fur. Yes Yes
Leucaena leucocephala (leucaena) Yes
Leucanthemum vulgare (oxeye daisy)Via the gut of livestock Yes
Limax maximus (leopard slug)Dispersed as contaminant of soil, farm produce Yes
Linaria vulgaris (common toadflax)Transfer on or in livestock Yes Zouhar, 2003
Lolium perenne (perennial ryegrass)Commonly grazed species Yes Yes
Melinis minutiflora (molasses grass)Planted as a forage and fodder Yes Yes Cook et al., 2005
Mikania micrantha (bitter vine) Yes
Mimosa diplotricha (giant sensitive plant) Yes Yes Gwyne, 1969; Parsons and Cuthbertson, 1992
Mucuna pruriens (velvet bean)Cultivated as a cover crop and fodder/forage crop Yes Yes Duke, 1981
Mustela furo (ferret)For fur farming Yes Yes
Neovison vison (American mink) Yes
Oncorhynchus tshawytscha (chinook salmon)Used for supplementation in rivers in USA and Canada Yes Yes Gwyne, 1969; Gwyne, 1969; Gwyne, 1969
Opuntia aurantiaca (jointed cactus) Yes
Opuntia ficus-indica (prickly pear) Yes Yes
Opuntia monacantha (common prickly pear) Yes
Ovis aries musimon (European mouflon) Yes Apollonio et al., 2010a; Uloth, 1972; Weller, 2001
Palaemon macrodactylus (oriental shrimp)Possible but not proven Yes
Parthenium hysterophorus (parthenium weed) Yes Yes PAG, 2000
Paspalum distichum (knotgrass) Yes Yes
Pennisetum clandestinum (Kikuyu grass)Widely introduced as a forage crop Yes
Pennisetum polystachion (mission grass) Yes Yes Choubey and Bhagat, 2005
Pennisetum purpureum (elephant grass)P. purpureum is one of the most valuable forage, hay, and silage crops in the wet tropics Yes Yes FAO, 2013
Pennisetum setaceum (fountain grass)Accidental dispersal on animal fur Yes Yes Halvorson and Guertin, 2003
Phalaris aquatica (bulbous canarygrass) Yes Yes Barry, 2007
Phasianus colchicus (common pheasant)Deliberate introduction as gamebird from Asia to Europe, N. America, Chile, Australia & New Zealand Yes Yes
Plasmodiophora brassicae (club root)Infested soil can be moved by livestock Yes
Poa annua (annual meadowgrass)Seed adhered to livestock Yes Yes Holm et al., 1997
Prosopis glandulosa (honey mesquite)As a fodder crop Yes Pasiecznik et al., 2001
Prosopis juliflora (mesquite)Introduced as a livestock fodder Yes Pasiecznik et al., 2001
Pseudorasbora parva (topmouth gudgeon) Yes Yes Copp et al., 2005a
Pueraria montana var. lobata (kudzu)As a fodder crop Yes Yes Shurtleff and Aoyagi, 1977
Pueraria phaseoloides (tropical kudzu)Forage legume Yes Yes Cook et al., 2005
Rana catesbeiana (American bullfrog) Yes Yes
Rhamphicarpa fistulosaSeeds can be transported on the fur or hooves of animals or be dispersed through ingestion and dropp Yes
Rusa marianna (Philippine deer)Deliberately introduced 8 times to Pacific islands (1770-1960s) - islands less than 540km2 in size Yes Yes Miura and Yoshihara, 2002; Wiles et al., 1999
Salsola kali (common saltwort) Yes
Salsola paulsenii (barbwire Russian thistle) Yes
Sesamia cretica (greater sugarcane borer) Yes Yes
Sesbania sericea (silky sesban)Used as fodder Yes Yes Ipor and Oyen, 1997
Setaria palmifolia (palm grass) Yes
Setaria verticillata (bristly foxtail) Yes Yes
Sida acuta (sida) Yes Yes Smith, 2002
Silene gallica (common catchfly)Carried on the feet of livestock Yes
Silybum marianum (variegated thistle)Livestock Yes
Solanum elaeagnifolium (silverleaf nightshade)Reproduces by both seeds and vegetatively; spread by livestock that graze and carry plant parts Yes Yes
Solanum rostratum (prickly nightshade)Possibly dispersed in US by man, cattle and wild buffalo Yes Yes Todd, 1882; Tower, 1906
Solanum viarum (tropical soda apple)Movement of cattle, manure within USA Yes Yes Mullahey et al., 2006
Solenopsis invicta (red imported fire ant)Equipment - accidental Yes ISSG, 2014
Sorghum halepense (Johnson grass) Yes Yes
Stenotaphrum secundatum (buffalo grass) Yes Yes Mullen and Shelton, 1996
Streptopelia decaocto (Eurasian collared-dove)For hunting, deliberate introduction Yes Yes Ludwick and Fedynich, 2006
Striga asiatica (witch weed)May be moved accidentally in forage Yes Yes
Taeniatherum caput-medusae (medusahead wildrye)Accidental Yes Yes Kyser et al., 2014
Tithonia diversifolia (Tithonia) Yes
Triumfetta semitriloba (burweed) Yes
Urochloa decumbens (signal grass)Permanent pastures Yes Yes Cook et al., 2005
Urochloa distachya (signal grass)Intentional introductions for forage; spread from cultivation Yes Yes New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries, 2015
Urochloa mutica (para grass)Pasture grass Yes Yes Cook et al., 2005
Urosalpinx cinerea (American oyster drill) Yes Yes
Ventenata dubia (North Africa grass)Accidental, seeds on animals Yes Yes
Xanthium spinosum (bathurst burr) Yes Yes PIER, 2013

Management

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Reducing the risks of introduction is the principle means of preventing further invasions resulting from this pathway, which requires improved quarantine controls regarding the movement of live domesticated livestock (McClelland, 2001). As islands appear to be at particular risk, it would appear prudent to not allow any further importation of live animals, for the pests they may vector, or with them becoming invasive themselves (see for example, papers in Veitch and Clout, 2001).

Concerning the management and eradication of feral animal populations once introduced, numerous methods have been attempted. They have proved successful on islands when further in-migration can be prevented. The main control methods involve culling and baiting, and use hunters with guns and/or traps, and poisons. Some examples include the eradication of pigs (Schuyler et al., 2001), goats (Parkes et al., 2001), sheep (Klinger et al., 2001), goats and pigs (Kessler, 2001), goats and rabbits (Bullock et al., 2001; Burbidge and Morris, 2001), and rabbits and other rodents (Merton et al., 2001; Micol and Jouventin, 2001; Torr, 2001).

Other papers in Veitch and Clout (2001) also describe examples of attempts to eradicate animal pests and pathogens, and environmental weeds from island ecosystems.

However, the central issue remains the same – live animal imports always carry some risk, and the only means to reduce risks to zero is to prevent all live imports. Stringent quarantine requirements is next best, and if conducted rigorously and conscientiously by well trained staff, can be very effective. 

References

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Bullock DJ; North SG; Dulloo ME; Thorsen M, 2001. The impact of rabbit and goat eradication on the ecology of Round Island, Mauritius. In: Turning the Tide: The Eradication of Invasive Species. Proceedings of the International Conference on Eradication of Island Invasives [ed. by Veitch, C. R.\Clout, M. N.]. Auckland, New Zealand: ISSG, 53-63. [Occasional Paper of the IUCN Species Survival Commission No. 27.]

Burbidge AA; Morris KD, 2001. Introduced mammal eradications for nature conservation on Western Australian islands: a review. In: Turning the Tide: The Eradication of Invasive Species. Proceedings of the International Conference on Eradication of Island Invasives [ed. by Veitch, C. R.\Clout, M. N.]. Auckland, New Zealand: ISSG, 64-70. [Occasional Paper of the IUCN Species Survival Commission No. 27.]

Kessler CC, 2001. Eradication of feral goats and pigs and consequences for other biota on Sarigan Island, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. In: Turning the Tide: The Eradication of Invasive Species. Proceedings of the International Conference on Eradication of Island Invasives [ed. by Veitch, C. R.\Clout, M. N.]. Auckland, New Zealand: ISSG, 132-140. [Occasional Paper of the IUCN Species Survival Commission No. 27.]

Klinger RC; Schuyler P; Sterner JD, 2001. The response of herbaceous vegetation and endemic plant species to the removal of feral sheep from Santa Cruz Island, California. In: Turning the Tide: The Eradication of Invasive Species. Proceedings of the International Conference on Eradication of Island Invasives [ed. by Veitch, C. R.\Clout, M. N.]. Auckland, New Zealand: ISSG, 141-154. [Occasional Paper of the IUCN Species Survival Commission No. 27.]

McClelland PJ, 2001. Island quarantine - prevention is better than cure. In: Turning the Tide: The Eradication of Invasive Species. Proceedings of the International Conference on Eradication of Island Invasives [ed. by Veitch, C. R.\Clout, M. N.]. Auckland, New Zealand: ISSG, 409. [Occasional Paper of the IUCN Species Survival Commission No. 27.]

Merton D; Climo G; Laboudallon V; Robert S; Mander C, 2001. Alien mammal eradication and quarantine on inhabited islands in the Seychelles. In: Turning the Tide: The Eradication of Invasive Species. Proceedings of the International Conference on Eradication of Island Invasives [ed. by Veitch, C. R.\Clout, M. N.]. Auckland, New Zealand: ISSG, 182-198. [Occasional Paper of the IUCN Species Survival Commission No. 27.]

Micol T; Jouventin P, 2001. Eradication of rats and rabbits from Saint-Paul Island, French Southern Territories. In: Turning the Tide: The Eradication of Invasive Species. Proceedings of the International Conference on Eradication of Island Invasives [ed. by Veitch, C. R.\Clout, M. N.]. Auckland, New Zealand: ISSG, 199-205. [Occasional Paper of the IUCN Species Survival Commission No. 27.]

Parkes JP; Macdonald N; Leaman G, 2001. An attempt to eradicate feral goats from Lord Howe Island. In: Turning the Tide: The Eradication of Invasive Species. Proceedings of the International Conference on Eradication of Island Invasives [ed. by Veitch, C. R.\Clout, M. N.]. Auckland, New Zealand: ISSG, 233-239. [Occasional Paper of the IUCN Species Survival Commission No. 27.]

Schuyler PT; Garcelon DK; Escover S, 2001. Eradication of feral pigs (Sus scrofa) on Santa Catalina Island, California, USA. In: Turning the Tide: The Eradication of Invasive Species. Proceedings of the International Conference on Eradication of Island Invasives [ed. by Veitch, C. R.\Clout, M. N.]. Auckland, New Zealand: ISSG, 274-286. [Occasional Paper of the IUCN Species Survival Commission No. 27.]

Torr N, 2001. Eradication of rabbits and mice from subantarctic Enderby and Rose Islands. In: Turning the Tide: The Eradication of Invasive Species. Proceedings of the International Conference on Eradication of Island Invasives [ed. by Veitch, C. R.\Clout, M. N.]. Auckland, New Zealand: ISSG, 319-328. [Occasional Paper of the IUCN Species Survival Commission No. 27.]

Veitch CR; Clout MN, 2001. Turning the Tide: The Eradication of Invasive Species. Proceedings of the International Conference on Eradication of Island Invasives. Auckland, New Zealand: ISSG, 424pp. [Occasional Paper of the IUCN Species Survival Commission No. 27.] http://issg.org/Eradicat.html

Contributors

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4/16/2009 Original text by:

Nick Pasiecznik, Consultant, France