For the fourth time, the U.S. has dropped onto Guam a huge payload of dead mice attached to tiny cardboard streamer-parachutes and laced with Tylenol.
(USDA.Gov)On Monday, 2,000 mice descended on the island in an operation aimed at killing a rampant population of invasive brown tree snakes. Since their introduction in the 1940s, explains the USDA, the snakes have come to take over the island. “There have been numerous documented incidents wherein the mildly venomous snakes have bitten or chewed on the extremities of infants or children, in some cases causing respiratory arrest and life threatening incidents,” the USDA reports.
But the real damage has been done to native bird populations, as National Geographic explains in stark terms:
No invader has been more detrimental than the brown tree snake, a species from Indonesia that came to Guam in the 1940s. Within 30 years it has led to a collapse of nearly all of Guam’s wild birds. By the ‘80s, the island’s most iconic bird — the flightless Guam rail, which exists nowhere else in the world — was gone from the wild there. Only a few hundred of them still exist, mostly managed by Guam’s territorial government. In all, nine of 12 of the island’s birds no longer live in the wild on Guam. Meanwhile, a handful of brown tree snakes that invaded in the 40s have turned into an estimated one million.
Tylenol (acetaminophen) is toxic to the snakes; 80 mg is enough to kill one of the reptiles. The streamers on the end of the mice bait insure they will get caught in the trees where the snakes live, and are “100 percent biodegradable.”
In total, the USDA plans to drop close to 40,000 of the mice baits.
What We're Following See More »
President Obama commuted the sentences of another 98 drug offenders on Thursday. Most of the convicts were charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs or possession with intent to distribute. Many of the sentences were commuted to expire next year, but some will run longer. Others are required to enroll in residential drug treatment as a condition of their release.
The Department of Justice announced today it's charged "61 individuals and entities for their alleged involvement in a transnational criminal organization that has victimized tens of thousands of persons in the United States through fraudulent schemes that have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. In connection with the scheme, 20 individuals were arrested today in the United States and 32 individuals and five call centers in India were charged for their alleged involvement. An additional U.S.-based defendant is currently in the custody of immigration authorities."
Evan McMullin, the independent conservative candidate who may win his home state of Utah, is quietly planning to turn his candidacy into a broader movement for principled conservatism. He tells BuzzFeed he's "skeptical" that the Republican party can reform itself "within a generation" and that the party's internal "disease" can't be cured via "the existing infrastructure.” The ex-CIA employee and Capitol Hill staffer says, “I have seen and worked with a lot of very courageous people in my time [but] I have seen a remarkable display of cowardice over the last couple of months in our leaders.” McMullin's team has assembled organizations in the 11 states where he's on the ballot, and adviser Rick Wilson says "there’s actually a very vibrant market for our message in the urban northeast and in parts of the south."