Sunday, February 18, 2018

What have we become?

..scarlet ibis poached

Three poachers found with parts of the scarlet ibis, the country's national bird, in a prohibited area at the Caroni Bird Sanctuary were detained on Monday.

A Ministry of Agriculture team, including three game wardens and one honorary game warden, was conducting surveillance at the site when they spotted the men.

The Express was told that the men attempted to escape in a pirogue, but were captured following a chase.

Inside the boat, what appeared to be part of the national bird were found.

The men were taken into custody and are expected to be charged with the offence.

Back in June, Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat called on the Ministry of National Security to beef up security at the protected wetlands.

Rambharat said he was responding to allegations of poaching and there were also claims that law enforcement officers were involved.

He said, “The reports I have gotten, and these are the consistent reports. The allegation is that there are law enforcement officers who are involved in the poaching of the scarlet ibis in the Caroni bird sanctuary and if that turns out to be true, then I think that is a very low point for law enforcement in Trinidad and Tobago but (that is) the consistent message I have been getting. As Minister, I have made eight trips into the bird sanctuary. Spoken to a lot of people in the area. The concern is not just the poaching, but the fact that the view is that it involves law enforcement officers.”

Rambharat was speaking in relation to illegal poaching of the scarlet ibis being hunted and killed at the Caroni Bird Sanctuary.

Caroni Bird Sanctuary tour operators have also expressed concern about poaching of the scarlet ibis.

Alistair Nanan, owner of Nanan's Caroni Bird Sanctuary Tours, said the scarlet ibis was being poached and the authorities have done nothing to stop the illegal hunting.

He said that the deaths of the birds was a disaster and blamed the Government for not effectively placing strict measures in place to protect the wildlife.

Nanan recommended that more game wardens are placed at the site for patrolling and a curfew should be initiated.