Tracker finds snake in national park

By Adel Fruean ,

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Carcass of a Pacific Boa found in Le Pupu-Pu'e National Park.

Carcass of a Pacific Boa found in Le Pupu-Pu'e National Park. (Photo: Supplied)

A tracker at the Le Pupu-Pu’e National Park in Siumu has discovered the carcass of a small boa constrictor.

Chris Tafili, 27, from Aleisa said he discovered the dead snake last month at the park, and added that his discovery confirms that there are snakes on Upolu.

The carcass of the dead reptile only had its head and the tail and was without its midsection.

“I thought it was some kind of reptile but when I took a closer look, it was a snake. I was more shocked to discover that it was missing its mid-section with just its head and tail lying on the ground.

“I then collected the carcass and took it with me in a container of ice to Quarantine which they later confirmed that it was a Pacific Boa which they said has been here since early 1900s,” Mr. Tafili said.

An official at the Quarantine Division of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (M.N.R.E.) has confirmed receiving the carcass, when contacted by this newspaper. The remains have been passed on to the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (S.P.R.E.P.) for verification, to determine if it is an invasive or local species.

Mr. Tafili said the discovery was shocking and people should be alerted. 

“People should be told, made aware of snakes in Samoa because not many are aware that they exist within the islands. Quarantine stated that for this year alone, this was the first report they have received concerning snakes. But I want to clearly get out the message that the best way to deal with snakes in my opinion is similar ways to how the Australians treat snakes and that is to just live in harmony with them.”

The Le Pupu-Pu’e National Park is a 2,850 hectare National Park created in 1978, which stretches along the insular divide from the summits of Mt. Le Pu’e, the double-crater peak east of Afiamalu, and Mt. Fito right down to the lava fields of O Le Pupu and Upolu’s south coast.  

The Pacific boa (Candoia bibroni) is a non-venomous snake endemic to Melanesia and Polynesia with a range extending from parts of the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Fiji through to Samoa and American Samoa.

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