Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 19th 2013 Contents SEPTEMBER 2013• WEEK THREE www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
I wish to respond to Dr. Sanjay Ramdath, the writer of the published article on the 12th of September 2013 at page 15 of the Trinidad
As the 2013 -- 2014 hunting season approaches and is lawfully scheduled to open on the 1st of October 2013, there are speculations on
either side of the debate. While conservationist groups have lobbied to protect the local wildlife populations, we the Sport Hunters have
advocated that there is no justification for any moratorium or ban on domestic Sport Hunting in Trinidad and Tobago. We also advocate that
there is a lack of competence by the authorities to enforce the law with respect to illegal forest users and POACHING during the Close
Season as far as the Conservation of Wildlife Act Chapter 67:01 is concerned. There is also the FACT THAT THERE IS NO AVAILABLE
DATA, as admitted by Dr. Sanjay Ramdath, that the Authorities and the conservationists of convenience can reliably depend on to indicate
that any of our hunted species listed in Schedule II of the above mentioned Act, is actually endangered or in decline.
Mr. Stephen Mc Clatchie may well know that Sport Hunters are not involved in the commercial business of hunting, but rather that is
really an act of poachers. I now turn to Dr. Allan Baker's reference. His interest may include his Turtle operation and does nothing to
conserve any other wildlife species. He clearly agrees with the viewpoint of Dr. Sanjay Ramdath and Mr. Simon Paul that there is a lack of
enforcement by the authorities in the management of wildlife and poaching without providing any empirical data in support. Rather, he
suggests that more than 13,000 Sport Hunters should be disenfranchised so that someone can secure a handsome contract to conduct a
It must be noted that if there is any decrease to a sustainable wildlife populations it is not due to the effects of Sport Hunting but rather , in
the main, to the effects of habitat destruction and fragmentation, caused by (inter-alia) Oil Exploration, Quarrying, Housing, Urbanization,
Highway Construction, Industries and Agriculture. Sport Hunters possess the most accurate knowledge of the places in Trinidad and Tobago
where wildlife populations are abundant. Any such survey can be conducted during the seven months of the Close Season but will not be
effective if it does not involve Sport Hunters.
I would also like to state that Sport Hunters in Trinidad and Tobago are the largest stakeholder re wildlife in this country and have a vested
interest in conservation of sustainable populations. I would like to ask the conservationists of convenience when have they been cured of
their amnesia. Where were they when the said authorities, whom they now support, authorised a foreign company to BLAST OUR
TRINITY HILLS WILDLIFE SANCTUARY (A PROHIBITED AREA BY LAW) TO KINGDOM COME by DETONATING MORE THAN 60,000
KILOGRAMS OF DYNAMITE IN THE SAID SANCTUARY as well as criss-crossing more than 30 miles of trails in the said Sanctuary which
provides easy access to the Wildlife Sanctuary to poachers.. Sport Hunters were the only persons who objected to this - without the
support of any of the conservationists of convenience - while the said authorities whom they now support, refused to acknowledge our
campaign, thereby promoting the DEVASTATION OF THE TRINITY HILLS WILDLIFE SANCTUARY.
I now ask whether those conservationists of convenience are aware of the following:-
that the said authorities whom they now support, are about to:
1. Interfere with private citizens rights by instructing the military to destroy all hunters' camps in this country;
2. Implement a two year moratorium on Sport Hunting;
3. Import supplies of wild meat into Trinidad and Tobago which will introduce Alien Exotic Pests and Diseases (some Zoonotic) into our
local wildlife and human populations -- We must ask :-
4. Who will be the beneficiaries of these import licences? Will they be available to all citizens of Trinidad and Tobago and how do my
members apply for such licence.
5. Will this action present a repeat of 1987 -- 1989 moratoriums on Sport Hunting when Marijuana Cultivators took over and still
control, large sections of the forests in Trinidad and Tobago.
6. Will this action present a repeat of 1987 -- 1989 moratorium on Sport Hunting when POACHERS (TRAP-GUN) hunters felt free to
operate islands-wide and learned how to ravage the wildlife populations of this country -- for their personal gain?
In our view the current scenario does not require the imposition of a moratorium on Sport Hunting since any data collected during this
period will only reflect wildlife populations for that period. Instead, enhanced use should be made of the Sport Hunters' mandatory data
forms during the hunting season and routine surveys should be conducted during the 7 months of the Close Season.
Any moratorium imposed on Sport Hunting will inevitably drive up the price of wild meat and directly increase the poaching pressure.
Trinidad and Tobago only has 14 Game Wardens who are supported by approximately 200 Volunteer Game Wardens. If this enforcement
authority is unable to effectively deal with poaching in the Close Season, would it be realistic to expect them to be any more effective
during any moratorium? We do not think so. Imposition of any moratorium will only open free access to the forest for the LAWLESS:
marijuana planters and poachers (trap-gun) hunters.
The only real solution for establishing a data bank and maintaining a credible data on wildlife population dynamics is for the authorities to
partner with the Sport Hunting fraternity so that a meaningful and effective conservation plan can be put in place and be enforced while
allowing sport hunters to enjoy their sport.
My membership waits with disciplined patience, the announcement by the relevant authorities with respect to when and where State Game
Licences will be sold for the 2013-2014 hunting season.
PRESIDENT, EAST ST. GEORGE HUNTERS GROUP.
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