Snakes Get Star Status on Airwaves

Monday, May 21, 2012

In March 2012, a BBC news crew on Guam for an unrelated story had learned about the ecological and societal impacts the invasive brown treesnake has caused on Guam since its introduction in the 1950's. So, while on the island the BBC crew filmed a night-time visual search for brown treesnakes with USGS scientist James Stanford. The BBC report on this snake and its impacts on Guam was broadcast 9 May 2012 on BBC World TV, the World Service, and online. This was the most-read BBC story (more than 1 million readers) on the entire BBC Web site for that date, according to the BBC. After the story aired, additional queries came from Dutch Radio VPRO, two different hosts from BBC Radio 5 Live, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), and BBC Brazil (requesting photos, which were provided). The interview for one of two BBC Radio 5 Live requests aired 10 May 2012 and covered the history of the brown treesnake on Guam, expected route of arrival, the snake's native range, the problems it causes on Guam, and the USGS rapid-response team. The radio interview with the CBC aired on 11 May 2012. A related story May 9th in the Huffington Post linked to the BBC story and to the original USGS report on brown treesnakes. Finally, on 19 April 2012 CBS Sunday Morning also filmed a snake search and interview with Mr. Stanford for an independently planned story on brown treesnakes (air date to be determined).

James Stanford

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