30 coconut trees in Rota flagged for rhino beetle habitation

(Office of the Governor) — Secretary of Lands and Natural Resources Anthony Benavente met with Mayor of Rota Efraim M. Atalig to discuss the ongoing eradication efforts of the Coconut Rhino Beetles on Rota.

Benavente was informed by the CNMI Quarantine team that containment efforts have flagged 30 coconut trees in the Tweksberry area.

“Division of Agriculture, along with our Rota Quarantine team are working alongside USDA-APHIS officials and University of Guam representatives to survey the contaminated areas and will continue to conduct the transferring of all green waste. At this time, we’re informing the general public that Tweksberry area will be closed off every day at 630 p.m. until further notice to prevent spreading,” Benavente said.

Early last week, Rota Forester James Manglona shared that that over 14 Coconut Rhino Beetle breeding traps had been deployed and that an island-wide assessment with the forestry team was ongoing.

“Our team has initiated the removal of affected coconut trees and incineration continues,” Manglona said.

Benavente added that due to limited resources and saltwater saturation, incineration and containment is currently the best possible solution.

“At this time, we are also trying to contain the Coconut Rhino Beetle in this area to prevent them migration further outward or elsewhere. We are utilizing chainsaws to remove affected trees strategically. Coconut Rhino Beetles hit Guam 10 years ago, made their way to Hawaii four years ago, and we’ve maintained quarantine efforts for an entire decade and we plan to eradicate these pests as aggressively as needed. We commend our teams, the Mayor of Rota, the Office of the Governor, and our federal partners for their assistance,” Benavente said.

To report a sighting, please call CNMI Forestry at 256-3321 or the Department of Lands and Natural Resources at 322-9834.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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