Sunday 15 September, 2019

National bird now protected as Environmentally Sensitive Species

A legal notice has been signed, officially making the Scarlet Ibis an Environmentally Sensitive Species.

The notice was signed on Thursday and will be Gazetted.

The national bird's designation as an ESS, based on scientific research and observation of the species’ population trend was proposed by the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) which sought to enhance the Scarlet Ibis’ legal status to ensure their continued protection. 

Despite the Scarlet Ibis’ previous protective legal status and that of its major/only breeding habitat the Caroni Swamp, the species continued to face the threat of poaching and habitat destruction.

However, with the signing of the legal notice, a fine of $100,000 or two years imprisonment can be imposed where a person recklessly endangers or adversely impacts the species. 

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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