Do you have a parrot in your home? How about some sort of tropical plant, or a flower not native to the area? If you do, please keep track of them!
Introduced species are one of the main reasons for decreasing biodiversity. When organisms that are not native to an area are let out into the environment, they have no natural predators and may quickly spread. Of course, not all species can be established in an area. On average, out of every 10 introduced species, 1 will become established. Out of 10 established species, 1 will become a "pest." This is known as the Tens Rule.
These "pests" can out-compete native animals and plants, and completely change the structure of an ecosystem. Examples of introduced species include the African Honey Bee, which preys on North American bees and has really destroyed a great part of the honey-making industry, and Kudzu, which has really taken over a lot of plant communities. Zebra Mussels too, have threatened the biodiversity in the Great Lakes.
So, don't just let your pets or plants out into the wild if you don't feel like keeping them any more! You never know what may happen.
This image is from The Hedonistic Imperative.
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