A review of five vertebrate invaders in South Africa
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Invasive alien species are listed as one of three major threats to global biodiversity. They can be detrimental through affecting the function and structure of ecosystems and degrading human health. Five vertebrate species naturalized in South Africa are discussed here with reference to environmental damage and control. This project consists of three components: (1) a review of five vertebrate invaders in South Africa, namely the European starling, House crow, Indian myna, Grey squirrel and Himalayan tahr; (2) a literature database on these species for use in future studies; and (3) motivations for the categorization of these species as required by the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (No. 10 of 2004) of South Africa. A total of 2881 references were found for these five vertebrate species, including primary literature, grey literature and books. In South Africa, no studies were found regarding the impacts of these species on the indigenous biota. All five vertebrate invaders discussed here potentially pose a threat to the ecosystems in which they occur and are proposed as category 1 species i.e. species in need of effective control. In conclusion, the distribution ranges of these animals in South Africa need to be monitored and future research should aim to determine the impact of these species. Furthermore, it is important to remember that for eradication programmes to be successful, widespread public support is important.