10 Feb 2010

Samoa's wildlife could be threatened by mongoose

7:38 am on 10 February 2010

Samoa's Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is hoping to catch an animal invader before it can establish itself on nearby pristine uninhabited islands.

At least one mongoose has been sighted in the Aleipata district, but has avoided capture.

The ministry's assistant CEO, Faleafaga Tony Tipama'a says last year an operation was held to remove rats from Nu'utele and Nu'ulua to protect the eco rich environment.

But he says recent sightings of a mongoose has environmentalists worried the animal might get to these islands, and traps are now being set .

"I guess this is one key issue for us is not to get this mongoose on those islands because then the mongoose will eat the rats for sure but it will actually kill everything else too that are on those islands, especially when you've got friendly ground doves which we are protecting on those islands."

Faleafaga Tony Tipama'a says their unsure at this stage how many mongoose are on the loose but suspect it hitched a ride on a boat from either Hawaii or Fiji.