Invasive Animals in Parks

Burmese python coiled up in tall grass
Invasive Burmese pythons occupy a wide variety of habitats in Everglades National Park in Florida, including uplands, freshwater wetlands, and the saline coastal fringe.

Our nation’s national parks are managed to preserve unimpaired America’s natural and cultural resources. This mission is under a deep and immediate threat as a consequence of invasive animal species.

  • Feral swine dig up at-risk plants, damage mound sites, and increase erosion at numerous national parks across the U.S. and in the Pacific Islands.
  • Burmese pythons have devastated populations of mammals in Everglades National Park.
  • Red imported fire ants pose a threat to sea turtles along the Gulf Coast.
  • Aedes mosquitoes bring new diseases that can be transmitted to people, including Zika virus and dengue fever.
  • In western states, American bullfrogs prey on and out-compete native frog species, such as the federally threatened California red-legged frog.

Despite these challenges, there are bright spots where parks are managing invasive species challenges, as well as opportunities for the National Park Service to take a lead in addressing the threat.

  • Some Hawai’ian parks and Pinnacles National Park in California have used fencing to successfully exclude feral swine and other invasive ungulates from sensitive areas.
  • Hawai’ian parks set up a rigorous inspection program that prevented the introduction of little fire ants into their parks, thus avoiding a fate similar to those parks along the Gulf Coast.
  • Yosemite National Park has eradicated American bullfrogs from their waters, helping re-establish the natural ecosystem that previously existed there.

Successfully maintaining America's treasures - the national parks - requires coordinated and innovative action to manage invasive animal species.

Invasive Animals in Parks

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    Last updated: May 12, 2021