GOVERNMENT has approved the spending of $US100,000 to begin with, to help in conservation work to protect a number of endemic wildlife species in the Grenadines.
Minister of Agriculture, Saboto Caesar made the disclosure last Thursday, while speaking at Hermitage where the Forestry Division was providing an on-site brief about preparations for a head count of another protected species, the St Vincent parrot.
“On some of the islets in St Vincent and the Grenadines persons have moved in taking their dogs, cats and other invasive species,” Caesar said.
The minister said there is also manicou on these islets which are designated protected wildlife reserves “and persons are actually eating the birds’ eggs, lighting bush fires.”
“…Because of that we have decided yesterday (August 25) at the Cabinet that with immediate effect to have a joint project between the Government and the St Vincent and the Grenadines Environment Fund…where we are going to remove these animals from these islets so that the birds can thrive and that their habitat could be protected,” Caesar revealed to the forestry and technical staff of some other government units.
This start may be well received by the forestry staff and other local and overseas conservation groups which keep a keen eye on the wildlife reserves in the Grenadines.
Wildlife officer with responsibility for Compliance and Enforcement Bradford Latham told SEARCHLIGHT that fishermen and farmers engage in activities on these protected islets which upset the eco-system and create imbalances.
He said they have become very concerned over the years about the fate of a number of birds which lay their eggs on the ground that are harvested by people and destroyed by tethered animals which overgraze.
Among the thousands of sea birds that are found on these islets such as Petit Canouan are the laughing gull, the magnificent frigate bird and the royal tern. Turtles and other wild life species also make these islets their home.
“They need to be maintained as reserves and reduce the amount of human contact which can introduce diseases,” Latham pointed out.