Containment efforts of Coconut Rhino Beetles on Rota ongoing

(Office of the Governor) — Last week, Rota Forester James Manglona reported to Acting Secretary of Lands of Natural Resources Augustin Kaipat of the discovery of Coconut Rhinoceros Beetles or CRB on Rota.

According to Manglona, 20 adult beetles and many grubs were found when a coconut tree fell to the ground.

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CNMI State Forester Victor Deleon Guerrero noted that specimens were collected and sent to Guam for professional review.

Acting Department of Lands and Natural Resources Secretary Gus Kaipat added that the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has been notified.

“Mr. Dallas Berringer of USDA-APHIS had been notified by Rota Quarantine and so far we have been instructed to have the specimens of adult and larvae sent to Guam for examination. Berringer shared that the specimens will be reviewed by a National Identifier providing the legal authority to provide any support for survey, eradication, and control efforts and we anticipate official species confirmation towards the end of next week,” Kaipat said.

Berringer added that, in the meantime, Lands and Natural Resources will plan on setting up an incident command to manage the response and identify short term resources that CNMI can dedicate for response for the next three month period.

He noted increased trapping must take place to the extent of potential infestation, an island wide visual survey for signs of CRB presence must be conducted, and a complete sanitation of the site radiating outwards should be done.

Acting Gov. Victor B. Hocog said the Coconut Rhino Beetle is detrimental to coconut palms and agriculture.

“I ask our residents on Rota to report signs or discoveries of the Coconut Rhino Beetle to our CNMI Forestry. Our coconut trees play an important role in our heritage and are so significantly useful. CRB effects are damaging to our small island and containment is needed to eradicate the Rhino Beetles before they spread to other areas,” acting Governor Hocog said.

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

Source: Marianas Variety :

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