Saturday 4 April, 2020

Hunt on for poacher seen 'making cook' with protected anaconda

Authorities are pursuing details to find a poacher who was seen in a viral video chopping and ‘making cook’ with a protected anaconda in Trinidad.

The video was shared via social media, however, it was later removed. However, it is suspected that the poacher may have carried out the act in forests in North or Central Trinidad.  

Minister of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries, Clarence Rambharat said in a social media post that he has instructed authorities to pursue this matter.

“When I saw the video this morning of the barebacked guy removing the anaconda from the fish pot and hacking it to death, to make a cook, I knew the video would be removed.”

“Before it was removed it was determined where it was possibly taken and who the man involved could be.”

“The Chief Game Warden was instructed to pursue this matter relentlessly with our Game Wardens and the Sangre Grande and Biche police and lay charges under the Conservation of Wild Life Act,” Rambharat said.

The green anaconda, or Eunectes murinus gigas, is native to Trinidad and Tobago and is protected under the Conservation of Wildlife Act - it is the largest snake by weight in the world

Recently, government implemented stricter fines for poaching and other hunting offences with amendments made to the Conservation of Wildlife Act as follows:

Section 4 (1)

Fine for hunting in a Game Sanctuary increased from $1,000 to $10,000

Section 5 (2)

Fine for hunting protected animals without a Special Game Licence increased from $1,000 to $10,000.

Section 6 (3)

Fine for failing to produce a State Game Licence increased from $100 to $1,500

Section 6 (4)

Fine for failing to obtain a State Game Licence increased from $400 to $4,000

Section 6 (5)      

Fine for hunting while disqualified increased from $2,000 to $10,000

Section 7 (4)

Fine for hunting during the close season and exercising dogs during close season increased from $2,000 to $10,000

Section 13

Fine for failing to give place of abode/giving a false place of abode increased from $100 to $5,000

Section 15

Fine for assaulting, obstructing/ resisting Game Warden increased from $1,000 to $10,000

Section 17 (1) (a)

Fine for payment of compensation instead of fine increased from $200 to $10,000

Section 18 (2)   

Fine for export of animals without permission increased from $2,000 to $10,000

Section 22

Offences without fines specified increased from $200 to $5,000

Section 24 (1) (h)

Limit of Minister to prescribe fines under Regulations increased from $200 to $10,000 

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