This month’s guest speaker is Rob Mortensen from Aquarium of the Pacific. We’ll make a few very brief chapter announcements and get right to the program. Doors open at 7:00 p.m., program ends 8:30 p.m. followed by a brief Q&A, doors close at 9:00 p.m. Parking is free and light refreshments will be served. Please bring recyclable cans/plastic bottles with caps removed to help support chapter activities.
Invasive species have caused widespread damage throughout the world. Islands tend to be more at risk than other ecosystems. In one stunning example, the Brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis) devastated the ecosystem of the island of Guam. In this case the snake caused the extinction of many of the islands native birds and put the remainder on the brink of extinction. The last two species of birds were only saved from extinction due to the actions of US Fish and Wildlife and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums activities. These birds were removed and placed in captive breeding situations. Though the birds are gone, the snake persists and occurs in such large numbers on Guam that removing it completely is very unlikely though efforts are being made, such as poisoning the snakes with baited mice.
The story of Guam served as a lesson for many other islands’ fragile ecosystems. Preventative measures are in place for many islands and include inspecting car-go with snake detecting dogs, providing educational programs for the residents, and creating safety populations of vulnerable animals. The Mariana Aviculture Conservation project that the Aquarium of the Pacific participates in, is designed to educate and set up such safety populations.