October 7, 2013
2 million estimated to thrive in the island of Guam, the brown tree snakes have been a major problem. Although they are not deadly to humans, they do pose a threat to other wild life in the ecosystem. Most of the exotic native birds of Guam are extinct. The snakes can also cause a major inconvenience to communities by slithering up power lines and knocking out the electricity; going into homes and biting people, including the babies; and scared tourists out of visiting Guam. Guam’s Government is worried that the snakes will travel off the island and multiplying, becoming a nuisance to others. Even though there is quite a wide range of ocean to cross, they believe that the snakes could stowaway on a ship or carry through with the “snakes on a plane” scenario. For example, there is more than 3,000 miles of ocean to get to Hawaii, but it is entirely possible. It has actually happened before, but that was about 17 years ago and they have been safe since. If the snakes travel to Hawaii or another “tourist haven” and multiply, it will be almost impossible for them to get rid of the brown tree snakes. According to Webster Dictionary, zoology is the scientific study of the behavior, structure, physiology, classification, and distribution of animals. By having this knowledge, we are able to know how many we can have in one ecosystem and how many we need to kill off in order to “keep the peace”. We also know of special ways to take care of the problem.
The USDA, the Department of Defense, the Department of the Interior, and the Guam Department of Agriculture have developed a $1.3 million project, called the air-drop strategy. The brown tree snakes are “highly vulnerable” to acetaminophen, which is found in painkillers and they will gladly eat prey that is already dead. The air-drop strategy is dropping dead mice filled with acetaminophen into the trees of Guam where the snakes thrive. It has taken over a decade for them to perfect the strategy. Their...
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