Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House to fund an effort to eradicate brown tree snakes from Guam. The snakes have been blamed for the extinction of virtually all of Guam's forest birds.

Pre-emptive strike
targets snakes

New legislation gives funding
to eradicate the brown tree snake

Guam Congressional Delegate Madeleine Bordallo and U.S. Reps. Neil Abercrombie and Ed Case of Hawaii believe the time has come to stamp out the brown tree snake on Guam.

The three Democrats have introduced legislation in the U.S. House to fund an eradication effort. Money would also be used on efforts to prevent the snake from spreading to other areas of the Pacific, such as Hawaii and the Northern Mariana Islands.

The legislation would provide federal agencies with $18 million a year for six years.

"The brown tree snake has negatively impacted Guam's ecosystem, wreaked havoc on our infrastructure and economy, and continues to be a risk to our health and safety," Bordallo said in a joint news release issued in Washington.

Abercrombie and Case stressed the impact the snake would have on Hawaii.

"The brown tree snake is one of the greatest threats to Hawaii's fragile environment and our endangered bird species, which are found nowhere else on Earth," Case said. "Its unwanted introduction would also be devastating to our state's economy, causing between $28 million and $450 million annually in electrical power outages."

Abercrombie called the snake a clear and present danger to Hawaii.

"It would be a disaster for the visitor industry," Abercrombie said. "We'll have a tsunami of cancellations when word gets out that paradise is infested with slithering serpents. Anything we can do to keep the brown tree snake out of Hawaii is money well spent."

The snakes have been blamed for the extinction of virtually all of Guam's forest birds.


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