The Division of Agriculture, Marine Affairs, Marketing and the Environment will undertake a three-year wildlife survey at an estimated cost of $5 million.
Secretary of the Division, Assemblyman Godwin Adams, disclosed this at Wednesday’s post Executive Council media briefing at the Administrative Complex, Calder Hall.
He said the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) was originally mandated to carry out the survey throughout Trinidad and Tobago. The venture was expected to be financed using the Green Fund, which was established by Central Government to support environmental projects.
Adams stated that the survey was never conducted in Tobago. It will now be done in collaboration with the University of the West Indies and other partners, who will be invited to come on board.
According to Adams, the survey is important as it can give Tobago accurate statistics on the game species and their populations. It will inform how Tobago treats with its wildlife ecology and the economic well-being of some citizens as well.
“I feel that a wildlife survey is important to Tobago. A national survey is all right, but what happens in Tobago will be slightly different to what occurs in Trinidad because at the last count in Trinidad, there were some 450 bunkers where hunters hang out.
“You don’t have those things in Tobago. As a matter of fact, the Tobago hunters do it more on game and a sporting activity.”Adams also said the Division welcomed Government’s decision to lift the two-year ban on hunting, beginning in October (2015).
“Lifting of the hunting ban will allow us to manage certain species like the agouti, which brings a lot of challenges and frustration to our farmers,” he stated.
“In that context we are saying that with proper management of the agouti, we will have a better chance of conserving and protecting the wildlife population on the island and by extension, lessen the attack on farmers’ produce,” he added.
The Division is preparing a Note on the proposed survey including the estimated $5 million cost for approval by the Executive Council.