Brown Tree Snake Response Team Departs CNMI Finding None

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

Team to return soon to continue investigating sightings

By Emmanuel T. Erediano

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Feb. 4, 2016) – Although no brown tree snakes were caught during an intensive search that was conducted following sightings in Dandan early this month, the U.S. Geological Survey’s Brown Tree Snake Rapid Response Team says it will return for another snake hunt.

Adam Knox, U.S. Geological Survey rapid response team coordinator for the Guam Brown Tree Snake Project, said the response team returned to Guam on Jan. 26, but the snake traps deployed during the first phase of investigation are still operational.

The search team completed the first phase of its investigation relating to two separate snake sightings reported near the northeast corner of the airport fence and in Dandan at the beginning of January.

Knox said the sightings were 400 meters apart and occurred within a 21-day window.

"The response included night searches, trail camera monitoring, trapping and extensive outreach over three weeks with participation from USGS, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and CNMI Department of Lands and Natural Resources-Division of Fish & Wildlife," Knox said.

"Although no snakes were recovered during this effort, there is still concern that an incipient population could be present in the focal area. We will therefore conduct a second phase of snake searching and trapping between Feb. 22 and March 14," he added.

"The second phase of the search will include personnel from USGS, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, CNMI DLNR-DFW, and Colorado State University which will provide more opportunity for snake detection and a greater degree of statistical confidence in applying the science of Guam-derived snake detection to rapid response activities on recipient islands," Knox said.

The response team members, he added, are thankful for the efforts of DLNR-DFW.

"We greatly appreciate the support and cooperation from our partners during this effort," he said.

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