A snake found in Savai’i two weeks ago has been released back into the wild. This was confirmed in a letter to the Samoa Observer by the Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Safuta Toelau Iulio. The letter is published below in full:
We refer to the above mentioned article reported in the Samoa Observer on 15 May 2016.
Firstly, we would like to express our sincere appreciation to Mr Dave Perriman of Bluebird Company at Salelologa for his tranquility and proactiveness shown by not killing the snake found at Salelologa and for taking the time to contact our local experts for assistance and advice.
The Ministry would like to sincerely apologize for the erroneous advice provided to Mr Perriman on the phone when he first called for help. The telephone operator who responded to the call was in a state of shock when the word snake was mentioned on the phone. However, going forward, we will build the capacity of our frontline officers to effectively handle and manage referrals of such sensitive cases and provide responses accordingly.
The Division of Environment and Conservation (D.E.C.) is the responsible division in M.N.R.E. that deals with the conservation of Terrestrial biodiversity (including mammals, invertebrates and plant species), Marine biodiversity, National reserves, Solid waste management and Chemical/Hazardous waste management.
Therefore, the D.E.C. deals with snakes under its broad function of Terrestrial biodiversity conservation. This matter has been investigated in close collaboration with our local and overseas partners and experts including the S.P.R.E.P. and the Ministry of Agriculture through proper protocols of assessment to confirm the type of snake that was found.
The results confirmed that the species was indeed harmless and that it was a Pacific Boa or technically the Candoia bibroni a known native species of snake found in Samoa. We would like to thank in particular Dr Robert Fisher of the United States Geological Services who is currently our regional expert on reptile identification for his prompt attention and continuous support to working with the local team.
That said, Mr Dave Perriman has already been advised to release the snake back into the wild because it is not a threat to humans. Native pacific boa snakes have been seen and reported to us every now and then.
Therefore we encourage the public to contact the M.N.R.E. if you find or whenever you see or sight a snake.
For more information please do not hesitate to contact Ms Tauti Fuatino M-Leota on email email@example.com or Lesaisaea Si’a Niualuga Evaimalo on email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 67208 or 67200.
Ma le fa’aaloalo tele,
Safuta Toelau Iulio
ACTING CHIEF EXECUTIVE