Target: Daniel Vice, Assistant State Director of the US Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services in Hawaii, Guam and the Pacific Islands
Goal: Prevent the USDA from airdropping poisoned mice over Guam to kill its brown tree snake population
This spring, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Division of Wildlife Services hopes to drop dead mice stuffed with acetaminophen over Andersen Airforce Base on the island of Guam, a US territory. The mice will wear parachutes that will snag in the trees, as they are intended to poison brown tree snakes. Brown tree snakes have become invasive on the island by harming humans, birds, and infrastructure.
Brown tree snakes are a foreign species, native to Australia and New Guinea, and were probably introduced to the island about 60 years ago via military transport. American officials hope to prevent the 10-foot snakes from making their way to Hawaii, a place where they have not been seen for almost two decades.
The USDA has already dropped acetaminophen-stuffed mice over Guam’s jungle canopy in recent years. While relatively harmless to humans, acetaminophen is lethal to snakes. The resulting death of a snake poisoned with acetaminophen is very slow and painful, taking days or weeks as the snake suffers from liver failure. Moreover, dropping poison haphazardly endangers the very native animals advocates hope to protect, such as birds, scavengers, and carnivores. This method of eradicating the snakes is clumsy at best and openly cruel to its victims. Animal rights groups encourage catching the snakes by trapping instead.
Demand that the USDA Wildlife Division use alternative methods for reducing the snake population in Guam.
Dear Mr. Vice,
Dropping dead mice stuffed with acetaminophen over the island of Guam is a cruel and haphazard way to eradicate the island’s brown tree snake population. Acetaminophen takes days to kill a snake, and it endangers non-target animals like birds, scavengers, and other carnivores.
It is well-known that brown tree snakes harm native birds, humans, and infrastructure on the island of Guam. However, air-dropping poison will very likely harm the same native species the local government hopes to save. It is quite possible to reduce the snake population using more precise and humane measures, such as trapping. Therefore, we ask you to reconsider your decision to drop poisoned mice over the island.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: teejaybee via ipernity