Photograph by Daniel Stone
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Cocos Island, a small 80-acre landmass off the south coast of Guam, is now being used in the island's fight against invasive species.
Photograph by Daniel Stone

Stop # 7: Guam, USA—Why We Came

No tour of the world is complete without a stop in the Pacific islands—specifically Guam, an island at an intersection of cultures. Guam was initially inhabited by people from Indonesia, then later colonized by Spanish settlers, then finally declared a territory of the United States in 1950.

Guam has been invaded by a species of snake that wasn’t meant to live here, brought to the island by trade boats and cargo ships as long ago as the mid 1940s. Since then, nearly all of Guam’s endemic birds have been driven close to extinction. How have conservationists tried to stop the problem from spreading? The answer is quirky: a combination of Tylenol and skydiving mice. It’s a fascinating visual, and a curious strategy. We’ll go behind the scenes with some of the top U.S. government officials working on eliminating the snake, and examine how well it has worked. Join us for some island time.