Marianas Variety

Last updateWed, 27 Sep 2017 12am

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    Tuesday, September 26, 2017-11:24:06A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

Poison mice to combat Guam tree snakes

HAGÅTÑA (Radio Australia) The U.S. Department of Agriculture will drop mice laced with a sedative deadly to brown tree snakes around the island’s Andersen Air Force Base over the next couple of months.

Daniel Vice from the USDA’s Wildlife Services told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat the snake is a serious threat to wildlife.

“Virtually all of the tropical west Pacific is potentially at risk from brown tree snakes,” he said.

Brown tree snake

“We’ve had them turn up on virtually every island in Micronesia associated with some sort of transportation from Guam.”

The brown tree snake is a native animal in Australia and Papua New Guinea, but on Guam it’s a major invasive pest.

There is concern the snake could find its way to Hawaii by hitching a ride on the Air Force planes that use the Guam base.

Vice said the trial will involve attaching the dead mice to cardboard and tissue paper parachutes before dropping them from a helicopter.

The parachutes are designed to slow the descent of the mice bait so they become entangled in the canopies of trees.

The brown tree snake is thought to have been introduced to Guam some time after World War Two, after a large military installation was dismantled and sent to the island.

“Since it has arrived, it has colonized the whole island at unprecedented densities and has had some pretty catastrophic impacts on the island,” Vice said.

Vice said the U.S. government is dedicated to “containment” of the brown tree snakes but do not yet have the capacity to get rid of the snakes altogether.

He said there are thousands of hectares of forest on northern and southern Guam where snake control projects have not been not possible.