By Steve Limtiaco
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has identified 23 species of plants and animals in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands that are in danger of becoming extinct in the foreseeable future.
The Wildlife Service recently released a proposed list of species to be listed as either endangered or threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Among the ongoing threats they face are: habitat loss due to development; competition with non-native species; predation by non-native species; climate change; inadequate action to prevent the spread and introduction of non-native species; military training; recreational vehicles; and small numbers of individuals and populations.
Fish and Wildlife is accepting public comment until Dec. 1 to allow residents to review and comment on the proposal and provide additional information. If residents want to request a public hearing on the issue, they must do so by mid-November.
"We encourage the people of Guam and the CNMI to actively participate in the public comment process to help us determine if protection is warranted for these rare species," said Kristi Young, the Service's acting field supervisor for the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office.
The 23 species, according to Fish and Wildlife, are:
• Five plants endemic to the island of Guam -- Eugenia bryanii, Hedyotis megalantha (paudedo), Phyllanthus saffordii, Psychotria malaspinae (aplokating-palaoan), and Tinospora homosepala;
• Eight plants from Guam and the CNMI -- Bulbophyllum guamense (cebello halumtano), Dendrobium guamense, Heritiera longipetiolata (ufa-halumtano), Maesa walkeri, Nervilia jacksoniae, Solanum guamense (berenghenas halomtano), Tabernaemontana rotensis, and Tuberolabium guamense;
• One plant, Cycas micronesica (fadang), in Guam, the CNMI, Palau and Yap.
• The Guam tree snail, which is endemic to Guam;
• The Rota blue damselfly, which is endemic to Rota;
• Langford's tree snail, which is endemic to Aguiguan; and
• Six animals from Guam and the CNMI -- the Pacific sheath-tailed bat, Slevin's skink, the Mariana eight-spot butterfly, the Mariana wandering butterfly, the humped tree snail, and the fragile tree snail.
More information and copies of the proposed rule are available at http://www.fws.gov/pacificislands.