The island of Guam has a real problem with snakes. Brown tree snakes to be precise, which probably came in via uninspected air cargo. Having no natural predators on Guam, they quickly multiple, until, according to this report:
… more than 2 million brown tree snakes inhabit Guam, with as many as 13,000 per square mile in some areas.
The snakes are non-poisonous to humans but they feast rapaciously on birds and get into electrical wiring causing blackouts and are just generally undesirable and intrusive. There is also concern that having established a beachhead in Guam, the snakes’ next target for invasion may be the Hawaiian islands where “...they could inflict up to $2.14 billion in economic damages in addition to damaging local wildlife populations.”
The threat is being taken seriously by the Department of Agriculture. So much so that it has resorted to unconventional warfare to combat the snakes. The latest scheme is to parachute in a battalion of dead mice.
The mice will be laced with a drug that is lethal to snakes but can be tolerated by other species. So a snake comes across the body of a mouse and ignores evidence that it is an infiltrator. (The parachute should be a tipoff.) Snake chows down and is quickly KIA.
It could work and, heaven knows, it shows that the bureaucrats are able to think outside the proverbial box. The plan, however, has opposition. From animal rights advocates, including:
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which would prefer the snakes to be captured and humanely euthanized. “Brown tree snakes did not ask to be stowaways on planes or ships and then forced to survive on a foreign island,” Martin Mersereau, director of PETA’s cruelty investigations, said in February. “Although the snakes are considered invasive, no animal should be forced to endure cruel death,” he added.
Nothing on the forced conscription and murder of the mice.