The spread of invasive species is recognized as one of the major factors contributing to ecosystem change and instability throughout the world. An invasive species is "a non-native species whose introduction does, or is likely to cause, economic or environmental harm or harm to human, animal, or plant health" (Executive Order 13112, 1999). Invasive species include all taxa of organisms, ranging from microscopic insects to 100 pound sheep, and can invade any ecosystem, from river beds to lava fields. These species have the ability to displace or eradicate native species, alter fire regimes, damage infrastructure, and threaten human livelihoods. Invasive species are changing the iconic landscapes of our National Parks.
There are over 6,500 non-native invasive species that have been documented in national parks across the nation. Here at White Sands, there is only one invasive animal, the African Oryx. For information on invasive plant species, visit our invasive plants section.