Uninvited guests: an overview of introduced vertebrate species in Iran
An introduced species is one that enters and occupies a habitat where it does not naturally occur. We have reviewed articles and media sources to shed light on the introduced vertebrate species (hereafter IVS) of Iran. Here, we present a list of IVS in Iran which have the potential to become invasive and are the ones that can harm biodiversity. We aggregated information on their approximate range in the country, origin, probable means of introduction, as well as conservation status based on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Based on the results of this study, 63 such species were recognized as introduced. Human population size in each province was a correlate of the number of introduced species. We suggest that this correlation exists because human demand for exotic species as pets or livestock may result in the release of invasive species into the wild. Further investigations on the root causes of their emergence, their range in Iran, and their ecological interactions are urgently needed. Finally, we propose educating the public, and government authorities about IVS in order to encourage better management and prevent future introductions. We recommend that species with a high level of invasiveness should be targeted for eradication.
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