CNMI authorities trap invasive snake and go on alert
CNMI on alert after an invasive Brown Tree Snake is caught in a trap for the first time.
Northern Marianas authorities are on high alert after an invasive Brown Tree snake was found on Rota.
The snake was caught in a Brown Tree Snake Programme trap at the Rota Seaport.
Biologist Sylvan Igisomar told Koro Vaka'uta the snakes could be a big problem for if a population is established.
SYLVAN IGISOMAR: We can just take a look at our neighbour island of Guam. Some of the things that the Brown Tree Snake has caused is the complete elimination of eleven of the thirteen endemic bird species that used to exist on Guam. Then it also caused a great deal of financial problems to the island as it likes to climb. It climbed on a bunch of power poles and shorted out power affecting thousands of people out there. With the environmental issues of killing off the birds also affect a whole host of other things like the bugs. Birds like to eat bugs and now there's a big problem with bugs and insects and those kind of things. Birds also serve the purpose of dispersing seeds throughout the islands so diversity of plantation around the island of Guam has been affected also in that way. So as far as efforts, for the CNMI, we have programmes on the island of Saipan, Tinian and Rota. We're quite fortunate that we have these programmes on there because one of the things that the programme provided for was these snake traps that we have along the ports of entry. They're designed to attract the snake. They have two ways in and no way out so once the snake is in there we have live mice as bait and that's how that works. Since this has happened we are now attempting to discover or not whether it was a lone snake or is there an established population. We have cooperators, partners from Guam there coming in, the US Geological Survey, US Fish and Wildlife, the CNMI government. We're now rotating people. During the day it's trap monitoring and at night it's active snake searching. Because the snake is active during the night that is the time that we also go out to search. The search nights begin from 7pm to 11pm."
KORO VAKA'UTA: Where do the threats of bringing the Brown Tree Snake come from? Is it just Guam or are there other places.
SI: Guam, is for us here, is the main source because of the population that they currently have on there and the frequency of movement. The programme is set up so that, as much as possible, all the flights and all the vessels coming in from Guam are being inspected. We also have Brown Tree Snake trained dogs, canine units, that we use to monitor cargoes and those sort of things. The Brown Tree Snake is a huge, huge threat to the CNMI.
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