THE fine for poaching the Scarlet Ibis is $100,000...per feather.
That’s the warning from Agriculture Minister Clarence Rambharat who stated the fines would then increase exponentially as government move to protect one of the nation’s national birds.
“I keep mentioning to people that it is not just killing the Scarlet Ibis that will attract the fine, but if you just interfere with the bird or are found in possession of the carcass of the bird in its entirety or any part thereof, the cost could be unaffordable. For instance, if you have five feathers, then that will incur a $500,000 fine.”
Rambharat was speaking during the signing ceremony for the Environmentally Sensitive Species (ESS) Designation of the Scarlet Ibis at the visitors’ centre of the Caroni Swamp on Thursday evening.
“I still find myself having to respond to claims that there are influential people in society who poach, buy and consume the Scarlet Ibis. All I can say to that is while we have not had any prosecutions to support these claims, it is quite possible and something which ought to be paid close attention.”
Alluding to the ESS designation, Rambharat said he expected game wardens to not only adhere to the law but to enforce it.
“You cannot be in law enforcement if we ourselves are willing to be law breakers. The Caroni bird sanctuary has been one of those places where it is very difficult to differentiate between those who are here to uphold the law and those who are here to break the law. It is a renewed commitment by me as minister – and I hope, the Conservator of Forests and other senior officers of the Forestry Division – to ensure that those who are breaking the law even, in the Forestry Division, be made to face the consequences of doing that.”
Also addressing the ceremony was of Planning and Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis and Environmental Management Authority chairman Nadra Nathai-Gyan.