Invasive non-native plant and animal species are the second greatest threat to biodiversity worldwide after habitat destruction. Ireland is no exception, and many species that have newly arrived to Ireland has disrupted local ecosystems and threaten our native biodiversity. New regulations have been introduced in the European Union and transposed into Irish law, to mitigate the threat posed by invasive alien species.  There are many contenders for Ireland’s most unwanted species, but  here we have profiled 10 species which we feel are particularly unwelcome.

American mink

American mink
The American mink (Neovison vison) was introduced to Ireland in the 1950s for fur farming, and the first reports from the wild of escaped animals followed shortly after that time. There have also been a number of deliberate releases into the wild. Breeding populations were established at a number of locations by the 1980s and by 2009 the species was considered to be widespread everywhere except the far west. Since then, it is confirmed to occur across the island including some of Ireland’s offshore islands. Mink prey on crayfish and waterbirds, and the impact they are having on rare ground-nesting birds is if of particular concern (Photograph: Jonn Lefffman)