DLNR heightens security vs invasive species


The Department of Land and Natural Resource has been partnering with multiple agencies to heighten security for items that are entering the CNMI in order to prevent the entrance of invasive species.

To prevent the spread of species that pose a threat to the valuable resources in the CNMI, the Department of Land and Natural Resources has worked with different agencies to closely monitor what is brought into Saipan, Tinian, and Rota from Guam.

Back in October, the first batch of coconut rhinoceros beetles infiltrated Rota. Fortunately, DLNR and the CNMI administration was able to get to the source before it fully infected the island and since then, the population of coconut rhinoceros beetles have since seen a reduction.

DLNR Secretary Anthony Benavente said fortunately, Rota didn’t face the same irreversible fate Guam did, where almost all the coconut trees were wiped out.

Although Rota can still be salvaged due to both government efforts and predators like birds and rats, DLNR and the CNMI administration is left with the fear that the beetles could soon make their way into Saipan and Tinian next.

Benavente said during an interview that Customs and the islands’ Ports Police have been instructed to be vigilant in monitoring all imports from Guam.

Benavente said these beetles can be transported very easily and it takes just one female beetle to produce a mass amount of larvae and that could be the end for the island’s valuable coconut tree

“A lot of the invasive species now are really happening in Guam,” he said.

According to Benavente, Guam has been very helpful in terms of sharing data with the CNMI in how to combat the invasive coconut rhinoceros beetle.

“We are finding sources in terms of work bio date, security, trainings … Guam is doing so much of the training and they’re letting us know in terms of how to prevent this,” he said.

“Whenever there’s an invasive species right around the corner, we can never sleep. We have to be vigilant in protecting our border and so far we’ve been so lucky,” he added.

DLNR has also been working with the administration in terms of funding so they can get people who are capable of further protecting the CNMI’s borders. Without the manpower, there is no means of efficiently protecting the islands of Tinian, Saipan, and the Northern Islands from suffering the safe fate as Rota and Guam.

“…Because we don’t have that much manpower and its going to hurt us eventually if we don’t monitor entry of these things… in the airport, seaport, post office I don’t care where but we want to make sure of whatever is coming in,” he said.

Kimberly Bautista Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Bautista Esmores has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

Related Posts

Disclaimer: Comments are moderated. They will not appear immediately or even on the same day. Comments should be related to the topic. Off-topic comments would be deleted. Profanities are not allowed. Comments that are potentially libelous, inflammatory, or slanderous would be deleted.