The Brown Tree snake, unintentionally introduced to the Pacific Island of Guam by the U-S navy at the end of the Second World War, has become the island's scourge.
Its numbers have spiralled out of control in recent years.
It's responsible for the extinction of five species of the eight natural birds -- and the authorities are concerned about the safety of the island's children.
Guam, a Pacific paradise of sandy shores and gently lapping waves -- an idyll for many, but the island has a sinister presence that slips across its interior.
This 7 foot long Brown Tree snake is not indigenous to Guam and was unintentionally transferred here from the island of Manus by the U-S navy after World War II.
The snake made its surreptitious entry by creeping into machinery and bicycles, imported into the island decades ago.
When it arrived, the island had no natural predator to contain its growth.
The consequences have been devastating for the natural bird population.
Five species out of eight have become extinct within a period of 30 years.
These two Marianas Crows from a surviving 20 are the sole breeding pairs left on Guam.
They are kept in captivity for their own safety.
The program of rescue and recovery by the Guam Agricultural Department say the snake is definitely to blame for the drop in numbers.
"The numbers have dwindled to very few individuals, principally by the Brown Tree snake."
SUPER CAPTION Tino Agnon, Biologist Guam Department of Agriculture
The snake problem has also affected the once plentiful fruit bat.
They are easy prey for the Brown tree snake as is the Guam Rail, a flightless bird that lives in undergrowth.
But many Rail are restricted to captivity.
The Rail rescue program now houses about 200 Rails -- seventy percent of the global population.
"I work with the Guam Rail which is one of the endangered species on Guam. It is one of the species that was rescued from extinction back in the early 80s before they really knew what the cause of the decline of all the forest birds was. What we have here is a captive breeding program. The birds that were rescued from the wild were brought into captivity and what we are hoping to do is restore them back into the wild once the snake problem is under control here on Guam."
SUPER CAPTION: Kelly Brock, Wildlife Biologist, Guam Department of Agriculture
U-S airforce base Andersen is the front line for attack on the snake.
The U-S animal Damage Control is responsible for trapping the unwanted serpents.
They catch up to 60 snakes a day.
The traps use live bait of mice and eggs to catch the snake.
The real fight against the snake, however, is predominately fought at airports and seaports.
The aim is to prevent the Brown Tree Snake from escaping from the island in cargo.
Police patrol the cargo areas and terrier dogs are employed to seek out snakes.
Other Pacific Islands such as Hawaii are keen to keep the snake out.
"We don't want the snakes to leave the island because of all the damage that it did here on the island as far as some of the native birds that we have they are gone already. Matter of fact maybe there is 13 species of birds on Guam that our little kids will never see any more. They are completely gone at this time."
SUPER CAPTION: Danny Rodriguez, U-S Animal Damage Control
Until the problem of the snake has been eradicated the release of captive birds is impossible.
Now the only hope is to prevent the problem from migrating.
Environmental concerns , Animals , Snakes , Endangered and extinct species , Birds , Bats , Environment , Environment and nature , Living things , Reptiles , Endangered and extinct species , Wildlife , Mammals