The laws and protected areas to help conserve the Caribbean birds is the highlight of this year’s Caribbean Endemic Birds Festival 2016.
This year marks the 13th year Dominica is joining in the celebration of the festival since it began in 2001.
The festival is observed throughout the Caribbean from Earth Day, April 22nd to International Biodiversity Day, May 22nd under the theme, “Spread your wings for bird conservation.”
The Hon Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, Johnson Drigo, during his address in observance of the month’s activities, encouraged the protection of our endemic birds especially after the negative impacts of our island from natural disasters.
“It would be beneficial to observe more than ever all sections of the Wildlife Act which in a nutshell demands that we do not hunt in protected areas nor during closed seasons. Furthermore, respect other sections of the relevant laws which warn against the young and eggs in their nesting areas. Keep yourself informed concerning the Wildlife Act, the Forest Laws and National Parks and Protected Areas Act. Strictly observe which wildlife can be and cannot be hunted during the open season,” he said.
The Sisserou and the Jaco Parrot are two endemic species which should never be captured or interfered with in the wild. These two specially protected endemic birds are of great national importance since the Sisserou Parrot is Dominica’s National Bird and is on the Coat-of-Arms and both the Jaco and Sisserou Parrot are endemic to Dominica.
Over the years, the Forestry, Wildlife and Parks Division has organized and executed a number of activities geared towards increasing public awareness and sensitization of the need to observe laws and regulations designed for the protection, conservation and well-being of birds.
“This year’s program includes field trips to bird’s habitats and acquiring knowledge pertaining to bird management and sustainability; birding with Petite Savanne, Mahaut, and Coulibistrie Primary Schools; a presentation on the on-going research on the Purple Throated Hummingbird and the interaction with the two Heliconia species on Dominica. The program also includes the annual hiking and birding trip with the hiking clubs on the island, a chorale speech competition with the 4H clubs, and the popular boat trip to Pointe des Foux to view breeding colonies of seabirds.”
The Hon Agriculture Minister urges the general public to participate in the activities organized by the Forestry Division.
He said “You can all also play your part by informing yourselves on Dominica’s bird conservation laws; the endemic and special birds in Dominica and how they are protected by conservation laws. Report suspicious poaching and illegal trade and participate in an activity to enhance habitat or protect birds in your community, such as a site clean-up or tree planting.”
Hon Drigo stated that since the preservation of the country’s heritage is the responsibility of nationals, it is only reasonable that citizens help to repair and mitigate the damage caused to our environment.