Devil Weed. Photo: Wikipedia
Invasive plants and insects can wreak havoc on an ecosystem. Microbes bring disease to wildlife.
The Serengeti is at risk, as a recent study concludes:
“We predict that in the absence of efforts to contain, or reverse the spread of invasive alien plants, the condition of rangelands will deteriorate, with severe negative impacts on migrating large mammals, especially wildebeest, zebra and gazelles.”
There are often ways to combat invasive species, but it takes vigilance, expertise, and funding. In some cases, invasive species can change entire ecosystems and there is little else to do.
Microbes can be even more serious. Canine distemper jumped from domestic dogs around the Serengeti to lions, causing the death of about 30% of the lion population. It now is being spread by other carnivores, such as jackals and foxes.
“A preliminary assessment of the extent and potential impacts of alien plant invasions in the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem, East Africa”