To Attract Tourism, Icelander Proposes Importing Non-Native Species - The Reykjavik Grapevine

To Attract Tourism, Icelander Proposes Importing Non-Native Species

Published January 24, 2011

An Icelander has put forward an idea that to attract tourists to the northwest of the country, numerous species of animals that never lived in Iceland should be imported.
DV reports that exterminator and author Eyjólfur Guðmundsson contacted the Employment Development Society of the West Fjords with his proposal. In response to declining numbers of people living in the area, Eyjólfur believes it would be a good idea to bring in animals such as llamas, wild boars, pheasants, muskoxen, and snow hares.
These animals – which are not native to Iceland and never have been – would, according to his proposal, “increase the variety of life in the West Fjords and attract tourists,” which would in turn increase employment opportunities.
When asked whether or not he was worried about upsetting the natural balance by introducing non-native species to perhaps disastrous effects (see: rabbits in Australia), Eyjólfur replied, “This won’t do anything to harm anything. It should be possible to reverse it if it turns out different than was expected.”
Eyjólfur believes the idea is perfectly feasible, and that even penguins – still believed by many foreigners unfamiliar with Iceland to be a native species – could live here at last.
In fairness to Eyjólfur, reindeer are also not native to Iceland, but were brought over from Norway in the 18th century. The species seems to be doing well for itself, although it is unknown how wild pigs or llamas would fare.
As yet, the Employment Development Society of the West Fjords has not responded to Eyjólfur’s proposal.


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