ERA assessing local Degu populations after sightings in Buskett raise concerns

Likely released or abandoned into the wild, ERA has warned that the species could become invasive, with significant impacts on local wildlife

After sightings surfaced online of the Chilean rodent roaming through Buskett, ERA will be assessing the status of local Degu's after concerns were raised over the potentially invasive nature of the rodent. 

The Degu, native to Chile, was initially introduced to Malta as part of the pet trade and likely released or abandoned into the wild. Experts have indicated that the Degu may not be able to survive Malta's dry summer climate, but ERA says they will be considering a precautionary approach to the matter.

Despite not being accustomed to Malta's Mediterranean climate, ERA warns that th species could nonetheless become invasive. As was the case with the Levantine Frog and various Freshwater Crayfish, many species that are considered 'difficult to establish themselves in Malta' have become invasive over time.

For this reason, ERA is reminding the public that pets should never be deliberately released or abandoned into the environment. Many pets do not survive, while those that become invasive could have a detrimental impact on local flora and fauna. 

Meanwhile, the authority has since been concluding an Action Plan addressing Escape from Confinement of Invasive Alien Species (IAS), expected to be adopted in the coming weeks. 

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