POSTED: 02:02 p.m. HST, Sep 29, 2011
The Defense and Interior departments are chipping in $2.9 million to rescue a program preventing an invasive snake species from hitchhiking rides from Guam to Hawaii on cargo ships and planes.
Congressional earmarks for years paid to control brown tree snakes, a reptile native to the South Pacific that has eaten to extinction nine out of 11 forest birds on Guam since it was accidentally introduced there after World War II.
Scientists fear the snakes would wipe out Hawaii's many endangered birds if they became established in the 50th state.
The program was on course to be cancelled on Friday when Congress abandoned earmarks. But The Associated Press learned it received a reprieve when the Interior and Defense departments last week agreed to fund it for the next nine months.