Scarlet Ibis officially declared an ‘Environmentally Sensitive Species’
It’s been described as “long overdue”, but only on Thursday this country officially declared the Scarlet Ibis an Environmentally Sensitive Species (ESS), giving it maximum legal protection.
EMA Chairman signing the Legal Notice
The signing of the Legal Notice was done at the Caroni Bird Sanctuary by the chair of the EMA Mrs. Nadra Nathai Gyan, along with Ministers Clarence Rambharat and Camille Robinson-Regis.
Ms. Nathai-Gyan says those who poach the Scarlet Ibis will have to pay a $100,000 fine and face two years imprisonment.
Mr. Rambharat says the fine is not only for persons who kill the Ibis but also for those who interfere with it, similar to what is done with the leatherback turtle, which is also an ESS.
AUDIO: Rambharat Ibis 27 07 18
The Scarlet Ibis joins other species such as the Manatee, the Hummingbird, the Pawi, the Leatherback and Loggerhead Turtles as Environmentally Sensitive Species in T&T.
Mr. Rambharat says he is continuing dialogue with Tobagonians if similar moves should be made with the other national bird, the Cocrico, and other unique birds on the island.
Ministers Clarence Rambharat & Camille Robinson-Regis and EMA Chairman Nadra Nathai-Gyan
According to the standards and guidelines for designation of an ESS as set out by the ESS rules 2001 the Scarlet Ibis has been designated:
• Because it spends a signification portion of its reproductive life in Trinidad and Tobago.
• To prevent the species from facing extinction.
• The Scarlet Ibis is protected under the Conservation of Wildlife Act and along with the Caroni Swamp it is recognized as having international importance.
The Scarlet Ibis is one of the national birds and appears on the country’s Coat of Arms and the one dollar bill. The species is found in habitats along the west and south coasts of Trinidad, however, the only known breeding habitat in T&T is the Caroni Swamp.
The limited locations of the birds’ occurrence make the populations of the species vulnerable to factors such as climate change, habitat deterioration and illegal activities such as poaching
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