Snakes are a common occurrence in many parts of the world, however Hawaii has remained mostly snake free for years by not allowing the creatures to be held as pets or used for other purposes and now the discovery of several pet snakes on the island have officials worried about the states fragile ecosystem.
Scientists are worried that snakes being introduced into Hawaii’s ecosystem could wipe out rare plants, tropical birds and other parts of the states ecosystem which affects not only the land but also the areas tourist business.
One big concern is the country of Guam which was overrun by brown tree snakes following World War II, officials are worried that that the snakes could sneak their way into cargo ships and begin to multiply quickly in Hawaii where they have no natural predator.
Speaking to BusinessWeek, Earl Campbell, assistant field supervisor for the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office said:
“It has a high potential to be devastating to Hawaii,” while adding, “I would look at Guam as the template for what could happen in a range of tropical Pacific Islands that have no snakes.”
In order to keep snakes out of the area the state has put into place fines of $200,000 with a prison sentence up to three years. Current snake owners who turn over their pets will be given amnesty for all fees and possible prison sentences.