Wednesday 22 May, 2019

Minister moves to raise Scarlet Ibis poaching fines to $100,000

Photo: A flock of Scarlet Ibis birds return to roost in the Caroni Bird Sanctuary. Tour operators have noted the alarming drop in numbers of the country's national bird due to rampant poaching.

Photo: A flock of Scarlet Ibis birds return to roost in the Caroni Bird Sanctuary. Tour operators have noted the alarming drop in numbers of the country's national bird due to rampant poaching.

Poachers who continue to hunt, kill and/or sell the Scarlet Ibis may be liable to a $100,000 fine or up to two years in jail, if applications made by Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries Minister, Clarence Rambharat, are approved by the Environmental Management Authority (EMA).

In a statement issued Tuesday, Rambharat said he has applied to the EMA to make the Scarlet Ibis an Environmentally Sensitive Species (ESS), which would incur poaching fines of up to $100,000 or two years imprisonment.

Additionally, he said he has applied for the EMA to declare the Caroni Bird Sanctuary an Environmentally Sensitive Area.

Rambharat said the EMA has given priority to his request to declare the country’s national bird an ESS.

“I am happy to say that the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) has agreed to give priority to my request for the Scarlet Ibis to be declared an Environmentally Sensitive Specie (ESS) under the Environmentally Sensitive Species Rules and for the Caroni Bird Sanctuary to be declared an Environmentally Sensitive Area in accordance with Environmentally Sensitive Area Rules.”

He added that the mandatory 30-day period for public consultation will be announced shortly.

“In line with what I said needs to be done, once declared an ESS, the fine for poaching the Scarlet Ibis would be $100,000 - that is one hundred times the existing fine - with the possibility of up to 2 years imprisonment,” he said.

“Excellent job Sir. Nanan's Caroni Bird Sanctuary Tours applauds this move to protect the Sanctuary and the Scarlet Ibis,” said Lisa Nanan.

Citizens recently expressed outrage after media reports that poaching of the country’s national bird was fuelled in part by affluent ‘wild meat parties’ held by some citizens.

Related Article

Three men were held and charged after they were caught with parts of dismembered Scarlet Ibis birds in the Sanctuary earlier this month.

23-year-old Shivanand Ramnarine, 35-year-old Randy Bachan, 18-year-old Brian Ramlochan, were charged with hunting within the protected sanctuary as well as being in possession of the dismembered carcass of a bird.

The first charge currently carries a maximum fine of $20,000, while the second charge includes a $1,000 fine up to a month imprisonment.

The three men pleaded not guilty to the charges and were granted bail. They will reappear in court on September 7.

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: