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Cadiz wants hunting season reconsidered

By Camille Bethel camille.bethel@trinidadexpress.com

Minister of Tourism Stephen Cadiz believes the country may need to reconsider if it can sustain a hunting season.

Speaking with reporters during a tour of the Emperor Valley Zoo in Port of Spain on Friday, Cadiz said: "We talk about hunting, Trinidad is a very, very small geographic area and right now we have a hunting season that is very extensive.

"In Tobago the wildlife has been decimated over decades or centuries and that is something that we have to be very mindful of and I am hoping to use the zoo as part of that education process so that people will understand that you cannot have a hunting season as long as we have. We should be talking about whether we should have a hunting season at all. These are things in due course we are going to be discussing with stakeholders but it is something that we have to be mindful off."

Cadiz, who said the zoo will be used as an educational process too, noted that zoos had always been a bit controversial but Emperor Valley will be used to promote awareness of the importance of animals.

"Especially young children. Nowadays, the only time they see animals is on television or read about them in books and here they can come and see them active.

So it is really part of the educational process. We going to be using the Emperor Valley Zoo to play an extremely important part in the general education of our citizens as to the whole issue of animals and how to care for them and how they live and at the end of the day, you are going to find the citizens far more intuned to nature which is very important," he said.

Cadiz said the $15 million upgrade of the zoo was on the way.

"The Request for Proposal (RFP) plans went out, that has been completed. I think there are six contractors that have been short-listed and those contractors will be asked to tender for phases two and three and will be done within the next three to four weeks.

The budget that we have this year was $15 million for the upgrades and based on what I have seen, based on the first phase completed, it will be $15 million well spent and I think Trinidad and Tobago and the residents of Port of Spain are going to be extremely proud of their city zoo, come October 1," he said.

The expansion of the zoo to include an Africa exhibit will include five chimpanzees and giraffes, president of the Zoological Society Gupte Lutchmedial added.

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