Friday 20 September, 2019

$500,000 fines for alleged Scarlet Ibis poachers

Photo: David Stefan Huggins

Photo: David Stefan Huggins

Two men face potential fines of up to $500,000 after they were allegedly found in possession of the carcasses of five Scarlet Ibis birds on Sunday.

The two were held at about midday with the dead birds on Sunday at the Caroni Bird Sanctuary by officials from the Forestry Division.

The men allegedly had in their possession the carcasses of five Scarlet Ibis birds as well as six iguanas.

They were then handed over to officers of the Caroni Police Station, who are continuing inquiries.

Both men were due to appear before the courts on Monday.

Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries, Clarence Rambharat, referred to the incident on social media on Sunday.

There is no doubt today that the Scarlet Ibis is an Environmentally Sensitive Species (ESS) under the Environmentally Sensitive Species Rules and possession involves a fine of up to $100,000 for each bird, with the possibility of up to 2 years imprisonment."

"Instructions have been given to the Forestry Division officials to lay charges under the ESS Rules.

"I thank the officers involved for their dedication to stamping out this criminal activity. Over to the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service and the Magistracy," he said. 

In July 2018, the country's national bird was declared an Environmentally Sensitive Species (ESS), which means that anyone caught with the protected bird can be fined up to $100,000 or imprisoned for up to two years.

The Scarlet Ibis has been designated an ESS according to the standards and guidelines as set out by the ESS rules 2001 because of the following characteristics: 

1. It is indigenous to Trinidad and Tobago

2. To prevent the species from facing extinction.

3. The bird is protected under the Conservation of Wildlife Act and along with the Caroni Swamp, is recognised as having international importance.

4. The Scarlet Ibis appears on the country’s Coat of Arms and the one dollar bill. 

5. The species is found in habitats along the west and south coasts of Trinidad.

 

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