CBD COP11: Invasive species have ravaged Guam’s biodiversity

Rio Conventions Pavilion TV, CBD COP11 (15/10/2012) – Cheryl M. Calaustro, a Wildlife Biologist at the Guam Department of Agriculture, discusses the devastating impact of invasive species on Guam.

Calaustro recounts that the brown snakes arrived on Guam as stowaways in a cargo shipment and, being faced by no natural predators, grew in number to reach the one to two million there are on Guam today. Guam is an island that is 30 miles long and at most 7 miles wide: according to Calaustro this equates to 12 000 snakes per acre.

Calaustro says that residents of Guam do not regularly see the snakes because they are nocturnal, fast moving and well camouflaged. However, according to Calaustro, the negative impacts have been huge.

Calaustro tells of the biodiversity loss on Guam, describing the forests as silent, all the birds having been eaten by snakes, and full of cobwebs as spiders are no longer eaten by birds. She also remarks that the number of tree species on Guam has been massively reduced.