USDA National Wildlife Research Center Symposia


Date of this Version

August 2007


Published in: Witmer, G. W., W. C. Pitt, and K. A. Fagerstone, editors. 2007. Managing vertebrate invasive species: proceedings of an international symposium. USDA/APHIS Wildlife Services, National Wildlife Research Center, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA. Also available online at


The brown treesnake (Boiga irregularis) was introduced on Guam during post World War II cargo movements. Brown treesnakes (BTS) have now become exceptionally abundant on Guam and pose a direct, significant, and growing threat to other areas outside of their historic range, including the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), the State of Hawaii, the United States mainland and other sites regionally and internationally. The CNMI is at high risk for a BTS introduction due to its close proximity and the types and amount of cargo received. Limited BTS awareness efforts between 1986 and 2002 in the CNMI resulted in an average response time of 126 hours indicating that an increased awareness of appropriate response actions among the public was needed. An awareness campaign was outlined in three phases: (1) baseline public survey, (2) ten month awareness campaign, and (3) re-evaluation survey. The CNMI Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) staff and an outside advertising firm created a baseline survey to gather media consumption information and environmental attitudes. Conclusions of the baseline survey were then utilized to create a ten month awareness campaign to improve average response times. After the campaign, average response times decreased from 126 hours to 1 hour 42 minutes. The re-evaluation survey confirmed the success of specific campaign components and directs current awareness efforts.