The Relation between Exotic Mammals and Birds and Agriculture Productions in Italy: Modern Containment Strategies

Department of Veterinary Sciences, University of Torino, largo Paolo Braccini 2, 10095 Grugliasco (TO), Italy


Sicuro, B., E. Valle, P. Costa, P. Mussa and M. Tarantola, 2017. The relation between exotic mammals and birds and agriculture productions in Italy: modern containment strategies. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 23 (2): 242–251

Ornamental farming is the main source of future diffusion of exotic species, but containment measures for these species are often criticized or disapproved by public opinion, in particular in urban areas in all the European countries. In this paper, the social acceptability of rational solutions for this problem is discussed, thus keeping in mind the importance of the conservation of native species and the impact of exotic ones on agriculture and farmed species. Currently, the most problematic alien vertebrate species in Italy are the gray squirrel, the coypu, the cottontail rabbit and the American mink, while the Rose-ringed parakeet and monk parakeet are considered to be the potentially most dangerous alien bird species. The effects of the presence of these species include competition with autochthonous species, damage to agricultural crops and diffusion of pathologies. Ornamental animal farming is an emerging activity in Italy and throughout Europe, and it is likely that it will be the main source of the introduction of exotic species. The possible solutions to exotic species diffusion are: improving current laws, shared strategies with neighbouring countries, eradication and management of exotic species. This review deals with management of the most invasive terrestrial mammals and birds in Italy as well as with some social and ethical implications.

Key words: exotic animals; Coypu; Grey squirrel; Rose-ringed parakeet; public opinion

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