- Written by Clynt Ridgell
The Marianas crow or Aga in Chamoru is an endangered endemic indigenous species of crow found only on Guam and on Rota. Suzanne Medina is a wildlife biologist at the Department of Agriculture. "Well we just wanna let Guam know that about a month ago we lost our last female crow which is really very troubling for us we've been watching the decline of Guam's birds over the past thirty years and now we're left with just two male crows on Guam. She died about a month ago and she had kidney failure,” said Medina.
The last female crow known as Mochong was about 12 years old and was living on the Department of Agriculture compound with her mate Suette. Medina explains that Mochong's kidney failure could be due to a number of things but they won't know the exact cause until tests are completed. This leaves one Marianas crow on Guam in captivity and at least one in the wild on Andersen Airforce base.
"We know there's at least one we've been following two for about three years one has since disappeared but their both males and that's why she was just very important to us it's almost like it's time for us to say goodbye to the Aga which is something we don't want to do,” said Medina.
Wildlife biologist Cheryl Calaustro told PNC, "That was the last female so the chances of actually getting a breeding pair here on Guam no longer exists it's almost like an illustration of what's going on on Guam things may be moving too fast but also things may be moving too slow and so in the world of bird conservation here on Guam we have to act now it's now or never or seriously gone forever."
There are however still some Marianas crow left on rota. Medina tells PNC there are roughly 167 birds but the population has been steadily declining. Medina says there were 4 to 5 hundred crow on rota just 13 years ago. Rota does not have the brown tree snake but biologists there have documented feral cats stalking and killing entire families of crow while they are foraging on the ground.
"It just goes to show that the work we do here on Guam and the work we support on Rota they all have to work together if we want our birds back in the Marianas so if we want crows on Guam all of us scientists the community we all have to work together to make Guam safe for our animals we can take of cages we can keep them in cages but really what we want is to have them here in the wild for generations to see,” said Calaustro.
Biologists believe that on Guam the Marianas crow were wiped out mostly because of the introduction of the non-native and now infamous brown tree snake.