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National Wildlife Refuge

Near Dededo, GU   
E-mail: Joseph_Schwagerl@fws.gov
Phone Number: 671-355-5096
Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
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Guam National Wildlife Refuge

Guam National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1993, to protect and recover endangered and threatened species, protect habitat, control non-native species with emphasis on the brown tree snake, protect cultural resources, and provide recreational and educational opportunities to the public where possible.

The refuge provides habitat for the last remaining populations of the endangered Mariana fruit bat, Mariana crow, and the Serianthes nelsonii tree. The brown tree snake is considered the primary cause for the decline of native Guam bird species. The refuge also protects significant cultural resources of the Chamorro people.

The refuge is composed of 1,203 acres (371 acres of coral reefs and 832 acres of terrestrial habitat) owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and 22,456 acres (mostly forest) of refuge overlay owned by the Department of Defense in Air Force and Navy installations. The Ritidian Unit, which is owned by the Fish and Wildlife Service, was created from a small decommissioned, specialized naval installation.

The refuge receives over 90,000 visits a year from island residents and tourists. Current plans are to renovate the facilities to improve research capabilities, improve administrative and maintenance capabilities of the refuge staff, and establish a visitor and interpretive center.

Getting There . . .
The Ritidian unit is located along the northernmost point of Guam.

Access the unit along Route 3A from the Route 9/Route 3 interchange approximately 6 miles from the refuge headquarters. Travel north on Route 3A for 4.5 miles, then turn left and continue downhill 1.5 miles to the refuge.

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These driving directions are provided as a general guide only. No representation is made or warranty given as to their content, road conditions or route usability or expeditiousness. User assumes all risk of use.

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Wildlife and Habitat

After World War II, the brown tree snake was accidentally introduced into Guam. With no natural predators and abundant prey , the snake population steadily grew and spread throughout the island. As the snakes dispersed, forest bird and fruit bat populations plummeted. By the late 1980s, 12 species of birds and the little Mariana fruit bat had disappeared from Guam.

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Volcanic activity and uplift raised Guam more than 7 miles from the depths of the Marianas Trench. As the volcanic bedrock neared the surface, coral colonies started growing. Millions of years of coral growth and changing sea levels transformed an ancient barrier reef into dramatic 500-foot limestone cliffs fringed by coral forests and beaches.

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    Recreation and Education Opportunities
Environmental Education
Wildlife Observation
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Management Activities
Guam Refuge consists of eight administrative units, five of which are noncontiguous, under two different legal authorities. The overlay refuge contains 22,456 acres in seven Department of Defense units on active military bases where the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has consulting rights and management obligations, and a distinct 1,203-acre fee title area wholly owned and managed by the Service at Ritidian Point.

Trapping, fencing, hunting, and other methods are used to control brown tree snakes, pigs, deer, and other alien animals, the most serious threats to native species. The refuge is actively involved in a variety of baseline surveys of plants and animals at the Ritidian unit and participates in established ongoing surveys on the overlay refuge with other Federal and local resource agencies.

At the Ritidian unit, personnel are investigating the distribution and abundance of native tree snails and small lizards, conducting near shore and reef crest surveys in both public use and closed marine habitats, conducting seabird surveys for species and abundance, monitoring a small colony of endangered fruit bats, and monitoring and documenting archaeological sites.

This information is vital to the development and implementation of a public use plan and for the development of interpretive trails and educational material. Refuge staff members also maintain and establish feral ungulate (introduced pigs and deer) exclosures, conduct brown tree snake trapping and removal, and compile native tree demographics to monitor the responses of native forests and animal species as well as to prepare management plans and implement recovery objectives for listed species.

On the overlay refuge, staff members conduct native tree and endangered Mariana moorhen and wetland surveys to provide growth, distribution, and abundance information for management and implementation of recovery objectives.

They participate in recovery efforts for endangered Mariana crows and conduct population censuses of endangered island swiftlets with the territorial fish and game office. They serve as lead personnel for population control techniques for feral water buffalo to reduce damage to native forests, wetlands, and riparian habitats.

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