Resolution commits to removal of brown tree snake from Cocos Island

Project P-187 (Brown Tree Snake Exclusion Barrier South) will conduct design studies to support future construction of an exclusion barrier to limit movement of brown tree snakes, rats, cats, and ungulates such as feral pigs and deer. (Photo credit: Melia Nefus, USGS)

Senator Sabina Flores Perez on Friday introduced Resolution 94-36, co-sponsored by Senator Clynton E. Ridgell, calling for government and non-government agencies to support the protection and recovery of Guam’s native and endemic species in the wake of recent brown tree snake sightings on Dåno’, the CHamoru name for Cocos Island.

Resolution 94-36 supports the Government of Guam’s efforts to secure federal technical assistance and funding to assist in the eradication of the BTS from Dåno’, which was relatively free of the invasive species, until a BTS skin was found on the island last year, threatening rehabilitation efforts.

“The successful eradication of BTS from Dåno’, could show us what a future for Guåhan could look like, free of invasive species,” Senator Perez said. “It is urgent that we recognize the eradication of invasive species and the promotion of biosecurity as legislative priorities for our government.”

Resolution 94-36 seeks to make the eradication of the BTS a legislative priority and calls on the larger community to mutually commit to protecting Guam’s native endangered and threatened species from the catastrophic harm of the BTS, develop more effective and environmentally sound control and eradication strategies and methods that will protect endangered species and other wildlife from BTS predation.

The resolution also urges for consistent and thorough monitoring, analysis, prompt public reporting of native and endemic species counts, and active preservation work, to ensure that these species do not disappear from Dåno’ as they did from Guåhan.

In addition to the ko’ko’, Dåno’ is home to a number of locally and federally listed threatened and endangered species, including: black and brown noddies; white terns; the såli; nesting green sea turtles; the slevin’s skink; and other native lizard species which are no longer found on Guam due to the BTS.

“For 70 years, the BTS has devastated our island’s biodiversity, and has made it more prone to the effects of natural disasters, overdevelopment, and climate change,” Senator Perez said. “Living with inafa’maolek means we must restore balance in our ecosystem by eradicating invasive species, making it safer for our native and endemic species to repopulate.”

(Senator Sabina Perez Release)