No Funding For Snake Hunting Program - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

No Funding For Snake Hunting Program

Christy Martin Christy Martin
Rep. Neil Abercrombie Rep. Neil Abercrombie

By: Beth Hillyer

(KHNL) - A program on Guam to keep brown tree snakes out of Hawaii runs out of money. So far brown tree snakes have made it here six times and there are concerns no one will stop them if a snake detection program is not bailed out. The federal budget went through without any money for the snake hunters on Guam. And many say we simply can't let our guard down when it comes to these slithering predators.

This bird-eating monster of a reptile runs rampant on Guam. And in just two months the snake hunters who inspect cargo and airplanes coming here from Guam may be out of a job. Sadly on Guam these snakes are out of control, Christy Martin, Spokeswoman for the Coordinating Group Alien Pest Species says, "They will do great damage to the birds. We know they eradicated about 11 species of birds on Guam."

They'll scale anything looking for prey, "They also climb on power lines and short out those systems." says Martin.

Now the system in place to search for snakes bound for Hawaii is out of money.

Martin explains, "Every year this program to search for snakes at military bases is supported by the Department of Defense as a congressional add-on. Unfortunately the administration said no congressional add-ons."

From Washington D.C., Hawaii Representative Neil Abercrombie says he'll work to re-program money to keep snake hunters on the job past the May deadline.

And he'll try to include this in the annual budget. Hawaii Congressional leaders say they sometimes get laughed at by other lawmakers who view snakes as harmless.

But locally no one is laughing at the thought of brown trees snakes settling in here.

Martin concludes, "Is it realistic the snakes will crawl aboard a plane just to get to Hawaii? The answer is yes. They find them every year in containers trying to get into the airport property. They have traps all around the Guam airport they find snakes in the traps."

The snakes aren't picky about their destination. Just recently there was a case where a military shipment of ammunition went from Guam to Oklahoma. There was a brown tree snake along for the ride.

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