These beautiful winged animals were all over this island.
Then, the brown tree snake entered and changed our ecosystem forever. Most of the birds that were found only on Guam will never be seen again. They are gone forever because of one invasive animal.
Christmas opens the door for more invasive animals to show up on Guam.
Last week employees at Cost-U-Lessfound a tree frog that wasn’t supposed to be on Guam hiding in a Christmas tree. The poor little frog didn’t know he was doing anything wrong. He was just hiding.
His presence on the Christmas tree brings up a very real threat to Guam’s environment. Any time a new animal enters the ecosystem, it has an impact.
Last year there was a garter snake in a tree. A few years before that it was a frog and a salamander. In Hawaii and Saipan, they have had trees with yellow jackets, a type of wasp.
It’s not the animals’ fault. They are just living in their tree when it gets cut down, put in a box and shipped across the ocean.
The animals don’t know any better. We do.
Invasive species can seriously damage an island like ours. Rhino beetles threaten our coconut trees. Now, brown tree snakes threaten other endangered species such as the fruit bat.
Biologists say that if the little frog found last week were to set up shop on Guam, he may become food for the brown tree snake. The more snake food available, the more snakes will be around. As long as snakes are around we will never have native birds living in the jungle again.
For now, the koko, or Guam rail, lives in the CNMI and in cages at the Department of Agriculture.
You can help by reporting brown tree snakes you find and by checking your Christmas tree for unfamiliar animals.
Christmas has become the season for stopping unwanted animals from tearing up our environment.
Tammy Jo Anderson Taft is the education coordinator for UnderWater World Guam. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.