Like chital in Andaman: how invasive species threaten natural ecosystem

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Environment, Ecology and Disaster Management, Topic: Biodiversity and Conservation, Issue: Biodiversity Conservation

Context: The Andaman and Nicobar Islands administration sought help from the Wildlife Institute of India to address concern of invasive species

Invasive alien species (IAS):

  • Defined by the Convention on Biodiversity– as species whose introduction and spread outside their natural distribution threaten biodiversity.
  • IAS can include animals, plants, fungi, and microorganisms.
  • Characteristics of IAS include their ability to “arrive, survive, and thrive”
  • Definition of IAS under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, focuses on species not native to India that may threaten wildlife or habitats.
  • This definition may exclude species within India that are invasive in specific regions, such as the chital in the Andaman Islands.


  • IAS disrupt food chains and upset ecosystem balance, dominating habitats where there is little competition.
  • The economic impact of IAS globally amounts to over $423 billion annually
Prelims Connect (Species in news)

·                 Invasive species in India: Fish species like the African catfish, Nile tilapia, red-bellied piranha, and alligator gar. Invasive turtle species, such as the red-eared slider.

+1 Advantage for mains (Examples)

·                 In places like Keoladeo Park in Rajasthan, the African catfish preys on water fowls and migratory birds, disrupting local ecosystems.

·                 The cotton mealy bug, native to North America, is another invasive species that has severely affected cotton crops in the Deccan region, leading to yield losses.


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