Brown tree snake poses costly threat to Hawaii

Brown tree snake poses costly threat to Hawaii

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - A state biosecurity plan says the brown tree snake could cause as much as $2 billion each year in damages if introduced to Hawaii.

The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports the snake, which is native to Australia and Papua New Guinea, was accidentally introduced to Guam after World War II. The invasive species has had damaging impacts on the island's native bird populations. It has also affected Guam's power grid by crawling into transformers and causing blackouts.

The estimates cited in the draft Hawaii Interagency Biosecurity Plan come from the cost of establishing eradication programs and outbound cargo inspection as well as economic impacts on Hawaii's agriculture and tourism industries.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture spends $5 million annually to keep the brown tree snakes from getting into Guam's outbound cargo.

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