Friday, August 13, 2004

Snake sighting on
Hana Road incites search

WAILUKU >> State, federal and county workers were searching last night for a snake in rural Hana.

A Maui man reported that he saw a 3-foot-long snake Tuesday night slithering on Hana Road, two-tenths of a mile east of a crossing known as "Make Man Bridge" in Hamoa, state Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Janelle Saneishi said.

The team began clearing trails and roadsides yesterday afternoon in preparation for the search.

Traps using dead mice as bait were to be set last night, state officials said.

The U.S. Geological Survey office in Guam is sending three people, as well as one person from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, to help in the search.

Guam officials have been battling brown tree snakes, which have devastated the bird population of the island.

State Land Board Chairman Peter Young said the Maui man's sighting was "credible", but officials remain unsure of what kind of snake was seen on the road.

Young said the risk of a snake population becoming established in Hawaii, where they are not native and have no natural predators, poses a severe threat to the island ecology, economy and lifestyle.

State workers conducted a search in February 2003 for a snake at a golf course in West Maui after a worker at the North Course in Kaanapali reported finding a snake skin in a golf car garage. No snake was found.

The partial remains of a gopher snake were found at Kahului Airport on Aug. 20, 2003, after United Flight 49 landed there from San Francisco.

Statewide, there were 236 credible snake sightings between 1990 and 2000, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

State agricultural animal specialist Domingo Cravalho said anyone who spots a snake should call 911 immediately and continue to monitor its location if possible.

Snake reports may also be made to the Pest Hotline, 586-PEST (7378), and captive snakes may be surrendered under the state's amnesty program.

Hawaii Dept. of Land & Natural Resources


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