Story by PO2 Gabrielle Joyner on 10/02/2017Personnel from Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Hawaii, and the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) added new snake traps to the 12 already deployed near Hickam Field on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH), September 29.
"We are trying to put the traps in strategic areas, especially where cargo is offloaded or where aircrafts are parked," said Keevin Minami, Land Vertebrates Specialist for the HDOA. "In the past we've found a few snakes on runways and even found a live one that made it all the way to Schofield Barracks."
The last tree snake was found at JBPHH in 2013, with no new sightings or captures have been reported since. However, both JBPHH and the HDOA are committed to being proactive when it comes to the prevention of invasive species in Hawaii.
"The State of Hawaii, the Pacific Region and JBPHH all have biosecurity plans in place that strive to provide early detection, rapid response and subsequent eradication and control for invasive species, should they ever arrive in Hawaii," said Rebecca Smith, JBPHH Natural Resource Manager at NAVFAC Hawaii, Environmental Planning. "It is important for the Navy to play its role in protecting Hawaii's unique flora and fauna while maintaining operational readiness."
According to Smith, the impact to Hawaii's wildlife would be devastating if Brown Tree Snake were to get a foothold in Hawaii. The Brown Tree Snake has no natural predators in Hawaii, so it's numbers would easily grow out of control. Moreover, Hawaii's unique fauna, particularly Hawaii's forest birds, do not have sufficient natural defenses to protect themselves.
"Helping to support this early detection program is a no-brainer' for the installation and its leadership because it gives us our best chance to ensure this invasive snake does not get loose in Hawaii," said Smith.
If residents come across a snake, or any exotic animal thought to be unnatural to Hawaii, they are strongly encouraged to call 808-643-PEST (7378).