In a recent report, the United Nations has warned against invasive animal species. Luxembourg is among those countries affected.

According to the report around 37,000 species are categorised as being invasive and they have caused damages of around 371 billion euros worldwide. In Luxembourg, the Egyptian goose has become invasive.

Currently, there are over 50 breeding pairs of Egyptian geese. Most of them are found around the lake in Echternach, by the Moselle and the Sauer rivers and also between Diekirch and Ingeldorf. The birds are originally from North Africa and can become problematic in a few ways. Their excrement can decrease the quality of the water and they are also attacking domestic birds.

Tiago De Sousa from the Nature and Forest agency tells us that for a species to become invasive there needs to be human interaction. This could also happen unconsciously. For example, if a species was sold here years ago and is now found in our fauna. But it could also be species that were hidden on a boat or a plane and found their way into the country that way.

To help reduce the numbers of Egyptian geese there are a few possibilities. For example, they like shorter grass, so letting the grass grow a bit taller could scare them off. The agency has tried to destroy the bird’s eggs, but it is not easy as they sometimes lay their eggs in the nests of other domestic birds.

The agency does not want to shoot the geese. It would have to be very careful, as for example shooting the geese inside a park could become quite dangerous.

In general the Nature and Forst agency prefer to try and prevent invasive species from entering the country in the first place, as that is typically easier than trying to remove invasive species once they have spread.