Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 7th 2013 Contents B4
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Monday, October 7, 2013
Hunting dogs like these will suffer under the hunting ban, hunters say.
CHARLES KONG SOO
Last Thursday, T&T Guardian
reported the concerns of local
hunters over the recently imple-
mented two-year moratorium on
Chaitram Sonneylall, chairman of
the group Confederation of Hunters
Association for Conservation (Chatt),
said the two-year ban on hunting will
have a domino effect on stakeholders
such as pet shops, veterinarians,
firearms dealers, hardware stores, rural
groceries, mini-marts, parlours and
most importantly villagers.
The hunters also fear that the Gov-
ernment s decision to ban hunting
will have a significant impact on GDP
and negatively affect the $96 million
revenue earned from the sport hunt-
Today, we feature the views of two
experts on hunting and the environ-
ment who give the arguments for and
against the hunting ban.
Against the ban:
Winston Nanan, a member of the
Confederation of Hunters Association,
says the two-year moratorium on
hunting will not solve any problems
and may cause certain species to mul-
tiply out of control and give rise to
other serious problems.
Nanan cited certain states in the
USA which were overrun with feral
pigs and deer which were responsible
for car accidents.
Nanan, who is also the head of
Nanan Bird Sanctuary Tours in the
Caroni Swamp, said hunters were the
eyes and ears for any "irregularities"
such as poaching or marijuana cul-
tivation that occurred in forests and
reported such incidents to the Forestry
Division and the police. He said
hunters were also instrumental in
search and rescue missions for hikers
lost in the forest.
He said Minister of the Environ-
ment and Water Resources Ganga
Singh lacked the scientific data to
substantiate the ban and neither
UWI s Zoological Department nor the
Forestry Department possessed the
data. Nanan said the figures Singh
presented were tabulated from data
compiled by the University of the
West Indies (UWI) and University of
Wisconsin which showed that 140,557
animals---agouti, deer, lappe, quenk,
tattoo, water fowl, alligator and other
species---hunted over the past three
years were all lumped together and
didn t show a depletion in the stock.
Instead, he said, the thousands of
animals could be interpreted as an
overabundance of animals in the for-
est that needed to be culled.
He also questioned the logic of the
decision to supplement wildlife
patrols with personnel from the police
service and the Defence Force, given
the crime situation.
Nanan asked if the ministry had a
separate fund for compensation in
the event a police officer got a limb
blown off or was killed by a trapgun.
He said Zoological Society president
Gupte Lutchmedial s statement that
hunters mistreated their dogs---starv-
ing them so they would become
vicious and bite when hunting---was
inaccurate, because their dogs were
tracking dogs and did not bite their
prey. Hunters had invested tremen-
dous amounts of money in the upkeep
of their highly-prized dogs, he said.
Commercial wildlife farming, which
was proposed by the minister, had
been attempted in the past, said
Nanan, but met with little success.
He said even with a prolific breed-
ing species such as the agouti, the
young had to be separated from their
parents, who would eat them, but
soon after, they died eventually.
For the ban:
Marc de Verteuil, a director of the
Papa Bois Conservation group, said
his organisation was not opposed to
hunting but to unsustainable hunting,
and the moratorium was in the best
interest of sport hunting.
He said he was very much in sup-
port of the ministry s initiative, but
felt without proper enforcement, the
moratorium would fail.
De Verteuil, who writes an envi-
ronmental column for the T&T
Guardian, said several wildlife species
had become extinct, such as the wild
hog, which had disappeared from
Tucker Valley in the last five years.
He said the 12,000 hunters had a
role in monitoring the forests to report
suspicious activity such as trapguns
and marijuana fields to the media and
police. De Verteuil said his group was
against commercially farmed wildlife
and imported wild meat being sold
to the public because it would be
problematic to separate poached and
smuggled wild meat from the com-
mercially farmed and imported vari-
ety. He did see a role for the farming
of wildlife, however, as a means to
restocking the natural wildlife pop-
ulations. Wildlife farming would need
subsidies, he said, as it wasn t eco-
He said once the importation of
wild meat was allowed it would make
the hunting ban impossible to enforce
and conceivably open up the country
to zoological diseases, and unethical
overhunting practices will be trans-
ferred to other countries with their
own issues regarding sustainability
Wild meat was already being smug-
gled into Trinidad from Venezuela,
mainly by fishermen, he said, through
the coastal areas of Cedros and Moru-
ga, peaking in the Christmas season.
He said the possibility existed that
some wildlife species considered for
importation could become invasive
species and displace the indigenous
wildlife, such as the capybara from
Venezuela, the world s largest rodent,
which can grow up to 200 pounds.
Pros and Cons
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