Press Release

Live Brown Tree Snake caught on Rota

(Office of the Governor) — On September 3, 2014 at about 11:35 a.m., CNMI Department of Lands and Natural Resources- Division of Fish and Wildlife Brown Tree Snake K-9 Handler, Shelwyn Taisacan with assistance from Robert Uloa, reported that a live BTS was caught in one of the snake traps along the Rota Seaport fence line.

Details about the case were not released until Sylvan Igisomar, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Coordinator/Biologist, assigned to the CNMI BTS Program, arrived on Rota to gather more information and conduct an analysis of the situation. The BTS was determined to be a male, measuring 40.16 inches long and weighing about 42 grams.

A coordinated effort between the Department of Lands and Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Governor's Office, the Rota Mayor's Office, Rota Municipal Council, and the U.S. Geological Survey led to nighttime visual inspections to determine if other BTS were on island. "I commend the coordinated efforts between the local and federal teams led by the BTS Rapid Response Coordinator, Adam Knox, Rota Mayor's Office, USDFW, and DLNR DFW BTS for continuing the surveillance in and around the Rota Seaport," said Gov. Eloy Inos. Six individuals — including personnel from DLNR-DFW, the USGS BTS Rapid Response and Igisomar — participated in the nighttime visual inspections using headlamps.

"As of today, no further sightings have been made, but surveillance efforts continue and trap placements are being expanded in land," said DLNR acting Secretary Manny Pangelinan.

Additional traps will be installed around the Rota Seaport area to supplement the existing traps.

Scientists will use their knowledge to strategically place more traps around Songsong village and other areas in order to effectively remove this highly destructive alien species. Brown tree snake rapid response inspections are ongoing on Rota. "Coordination efforts between the agencies will also continue, so that we can ascertain whether the captured BTS entered Rota on its own or was accompanied by others," added acting Secretary Manny Pangelinan.

The Offices of the Governor, Mayor of Rota, Department of Lands and Natural Resources and the CNMI BTS Program are asking residents of Rota to cooperate with the searchers as they conduct their inspections and to report any BTS sightings. You may contact the Rota BTS Program at 287-ROTA, CNMI DFW at 664-6004, CNMI BTS Program 664-6014. More information will be provided as the situation develops.