Poaching of the Scarlet Ibis, one of our two national birds, is on the decline.
This is an instance where a combination of initiatives which was taken following the publicising of the unpatriotic poaching of the Scarlet Ibis in the Caroni Swamp is working to protect this bird under siege. Foremost among them was the power of social and traditional media which served to highlight the issue and keep it in the public’s glare – effectively a call for action.
Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, Clarence Rambharat successfully mobilised his troops to increase surveillance in the ibises’ habitat and leveraged on strategic alliances. The incorporation of technology (drones) into traditional patrols by his Ministry’s game wardens continues to make an impact with poaching down considerably.
“The threat to the Scarlet Ibis is not only about a protected bird. It is a change to our national pride, our patriotism and how we see ourselves and our ability to take responsibility,” asserted Minister Rambharat. He added, “The killing of a national bird is unimaginable, The disrespect to our nation is not to be treated lightly.” He cautioned that there must be no let-up in the fight against poachers and in this regard made reference to other initiatives taking place simultaneously, including the declaration of the Scarlet Ibis as an Environmentally Sensitive Species (ESS) by the Environmental Management Authority.
When contacted, President of the Zoological Society (ZSTT), Gupte Lutchmedial said that the Society has a well-established reputation in protecting this country’s biodiversity. “It is nothing strange for the ZSTT to collaborate in efforts to stem wildlife crimes and in this instance we were able to provide resources to enhance the patrols,” Lutchmedial declared. He continued, “Public education must be an integral part of a strategy to combat poaching and the ZSTT has used the Emperor Valley Zoo as a platform to effectively communicate its campaign against poaching of the Scarlet Ibis.”
Enforcement personnel are acknowledging the support of the communities who live in and around the Caroni Swamp. A senior source at the Forestry Division stated that the role of community members is an important one in protecting the Caroni Swamp and all of its biodiversity.