region

Animals of Guam

136 species

Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States in the Micronesia subregion of the western Pacific Ocean. It is the westernmost point and territory of the United States in Oceania, it is the largest and southernmost of the Mariana Islands and the largest island in Micronesia.

Guam has experienced severe impacts from invasive species upon the natural biodiversity of the island. These include the local extinction of endemic bird species after the introduction of the brown tree snake, an infestation of the Asiatic rhinoceros beetle destroying coconut palms, and the effect of introduced feral mammals and amphibians.

Wildfires plague the forested areas of Guam every dry season despite the island's humid climate. Most fires are caused by humans with 80% resulting from arson. Poachers often start fires to attract deer to the new growth. Invasive grass species that rely on fire as part of their natural life cycle grow in many regularly burned areas. Grasslands and 'barrens' have replaced previously forested areas leading to greater soil erosion. During the rainy season, sediment is carried by the heavy rains into the Fena Lake Reservoir and Ugum River, leading to water quality problems for southern Guam. Eroded silt also destroys the marine life in reefs around the island. Soil stabilization efforts by volunteers and forestry workers have had little success in preserving natural habitats.

Efforts have been made to protect Guam's coral reef habitats from pollution, eroded silt and overfishing, problems that have led to decreased fish populations. This has both ecological and economic value, as Guam is a significant vacation spot for scuba divers, and one study found that Guam's reefs are worth $127 million per year. In recent years, the Department of Agriculture, Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources has established several new marine preserves where fish populations are monitored by biologists. These are located at Pati Point, Piti Bomb Holes, Sasa Bay, Achang Reef Flat, and Tumon Bay. A federal Guam National Wildlife Refuge in northern Guam protects the decimated sea turtle population in addition to a small colony of Mariana fruit bats.

Harvest of sea turtle eggs was a common occurrence on Guam before World War II. The green sea turtle was harvested legally on Guam before August 1978, when it was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The hawksbill sea turtle has been on the endangered list since 1970. In an effort to ensure the protection of sea turtles on Guam, routine sightings are counted during aerial surveys and nest sites are recorded and monitored for hatchlings.

Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States in the Micronesia subregion of the western Pacific Ocean. It is the westernmost point and territory of the United States in Oceania, it is the largest and southernmost of the Mariana Islands and the largest island in Micronesia.

Guam has experienced severe impacts from invasive species upon the natural biodiversity of the island. These include the local extinction of endemic bird species after the introduction of the brown tree snake, an infestation of the Asiatic rhinoceros beetle destroying coconut palms, and the effect of introduced feral mammals and amphibians.

Wildfires plague the forested areas of Guam every dry season despite the island's humid climate. Most fires are caused by humans with 80% resulting from arson. Poachers often start fires to attract deer to the new growth. Invasive grass species that rely on fire as part of their natural life cycle grow in many regularly burned areas. Grasslands and 'barrens' have replaced previously forested areas leading to greater soil erosion. During the rainy season, sediment is carried by the heavy rains into the Fena Lake Reservoir and Ugum River, leading to water quality problems for southern Guam. Eroded silt also destroys the marine life in reefs around the island. Soil stabilization efforts by volunteers and forestry workers have had little success in preserving natural habitats.

Efforts have been made to protect Guam's coral reef habitats from pollution, eroded silt and overfishing, problems that have led to decreased fish populations. This has both ecological and economic value, as Guam is a significant vacation spot for scuba divers, and one study found that Guam's reefs are worth $127 million per year. In recent years, the Department of Agriculture, Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources has established several new marine preserves where fish populations are monitored by biologists. These are located at Pati Point, Piti Bomb Holes, Sasa Bay, Achang Reef Flat, and Tumon Bay. A federal Guam National Wildlife Refuge in northern Guam protects the decimated sea turtle population in addition to a small colony of Mariana fruit bats.

Harvest of sea turtle eggs was a common occurrence on Guam before World War II. The green sea turtle was harvested legally on Guam before August 1978, when it was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The hawksbill sea turtle has been on the endangered list since 1970. In an effort to ensure the protection of sea turtles on Guam, routine sightings are counted during aerial surveys and nest sites are recorded and monitored for hatchlings.