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by Buckthornsam

Aim is to start a conversation with citizens and organizations about cracking down on non-native plants and animals.

Much attention has been drawn to Asian giant hornets lately, but they are just one of thousands of invasive species that don’t belong in Canada’s ecological makeup.

In fact, invasive species rank as the second-biggest threat to wildlife and biodiversity in Canada and around the world, according to Dan Kraus, a senior conservation biologist with the Nature Conservancy of Canada.

Kraus spoke to The Weather Network recently on some of the most threatening invasive species in Canada, as the country just concluded the second annual Invasive Species Awareness Week, which ran May 16-23.

SEE ALSO: Asian giant hornets: A lot more buzz than sting, experts say

While the Asian giant hornets generated a lot of unnecessary hysteria, the good news is only one nest has been found in Canada so far and was quickly destroyed in B.C. Having that kind of early detection and eradication is critical in the fight to prevent the spread of or remove invasive species, Kraus said.

“Identifying those Asian hornets and trying to remove them quickly, that’s exactly what we want to do for invasive species. That early detection and eradication. If we had done that with zebra mussels decades ago, the Great Lakes would be a healthier environment now. We would have saved ourselves billions of dollars in terms of the economic cost they have caused,” said Kraus.

Speaking of financial cost, just the invasive plants alone cost Canada’s economy approximately $2.2 billion each year, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). They do this by reducing crop yields and quality, and increase the costs of weed control and harvesting.

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