Fish & Wildlife conducts brown-tree-snake detection training on Saipan

THREE brown tree snakes from Guam were brought to Saipan to train  dogs in detecting the invasive species.

Kevin Donmoyer, technical advisor for the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Brown Tree Snake Program, said:  “Yesterday [Wednesday], I came from Guam with three brown tree snakes for training  snake-sniffing dogs.”

He said the snakes are all males and have been sterilized. “They also have a radio transmitter inside of them. If one would escape, which is very unlikely, we would be able to find it.”

Donmoyer said there a lot of cargoes arriving on Saipan as part of the Typhoon Yutu recovery efforts, and there is need to ensure that brown tree snakes won’t be transported to the island.

Regarding the video posted on social media, Donmoyer said it depicted a test for the dogs.  “We get a lot of calls from people, expressing their concern. We are happy about it because we know that the people on Saipan are vigilant as far as the brown tree snake is concerned.”

He said they bring in snakes from Guam every six to 10 months to use in training the dogs.

“We surgically implant a transmitter into the snakes. It has a battery. Once that battery dies, we euthanize the snake, then we have a new transmitter with a new battery implanted into a new snake in Guam. Every time a battery dies, we have to go get more snakes.”

When the team brought in three snakes from Guam on Wednesday, Donmoyer  said they also made sure that the facility was ready.

“We didn’t want to bring the snakes in if we didn’t have a secure room to house them in. Part of our permit for that is they are in a locked aquarium, snake foolproof — even if they escape from the tank they won’t get out of the room.”

Donmoyer said they also secured permits from the CNMI government, a health certificate from the government of Guam and a wildlife permit from the federal government.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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