ENVIRONMENTAL Management Authority (EMA) chairman Nadra Nathai-Gyan has said a proposal to designate the scarlet ibis an “environmentally sensitive species” has been drafted to further bolster the protection of the national bird.
However, she said legislation alone would not prevent the poaching of the indigenous bird, adding that this would require a change in people’s attitudes to wildlife and its habitat.
She was speaking to reporters before the launch of the EMA’s ISO 9001 workshop at Agate Building, Adesh Drive, SS Erin, Duncan village yesterday.
“We are taking steps right now to support the core ministry, which is the Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, with the protection of the scarlet ibis, and the EMA is in the process. It’s just about to send to the minister all of the paperwork that is required to designate the scarlet ibis as an environmentally sensitive species,” she said.
She said once approved, those found in breach would be fined $100,000. The scarlet ibis is one of the country’s two national birds, the other being the cocrico, and is protected under the Conservation of Wildlife Act and the Forest Act, which safeguards its habitat in the Caroni Bird Sanctuary.
She disagreed, however, that the EMA had not acted swiftly to protect the bird.
“I will not say that the birds have not been saved. If you look at the biology and the ecology of the scarlet ibis, it’s a trend. Scarlet ibis, during the nesting season, leave TT: most of the population go to the mainland, South America, nest, and then come back, so that the scarlet ibis population ranges. It comes down to a low of 2,000 in the nesting season to 12,000-plus in the non-nesting season.
“However, there is a threat of poaching. The EMA has stepped in, but I want us to focus as well that legislation alone is not the answer. You can have as many laws as you wish: if people’s attitudes don’t change, people’s perception of the value of wildlife and their habitat, we will not get anywhere, because you cannot have surveillance in an area for 24/7.”
With the Agricultural Society and farmers’ groups protesting the proposed use of lands occupied by the St Augustine nurseries for a housing development, she said the EMA had not awarded any Certificate of Environmental Clearance.
Environmental Management Authority (EMA) chairman Nadra Nathai-Gyan has stated that a proposal to designate the Scarlet Ibis as an “environmentally sensitive species” has been drafted to further bolster the protection of the national bird.
Once approved, persons found in breach would be fined $100,000.
However she said legislation alone would not prevent the poaching of the indigenous bird adding that this would require a change in people’s attitudes to the nation’s wildlife and habitat.
Nathai- Gyan was speaking to reporters earlier this morning prior to the launch of the EMA's ISO 9001 workshop at Agate Building, Adesh Drive, SS Erin Road, Duncan village.