Senator the Honorable Kazim Hosein, Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, is warning the citizens that the illegal wildlife trade will not be tolerated.
The Minister’s comments follow the seizure of several Protected Animals by the Trinidad and Tobago Police (TTPS) force during an exercise in south Trinidad earlier today. Minister Hosein commended the quick action by the TTPS, saying the illegal wildlife trade is wreaking havoc,
“ The wildlife trade continues to wreak havoc on the local ecosystem. In addition, these animals may introduce diseases and viral infections into our system. Therefore, I am encouraging citizens to be mindful of the disastrous impact supporting this trade may have on local wildlife and the dangers posed in human interaction.”
Two (2) Wedge-Capped Capuchin Monkeys, Four (4) Blue and Gold Macaws and Thirty-six Yellow Crowned Parrots were seized during the exercise.
Minister Hosein urged citizens to think twice before being lured into the seduction of a purchase.
“ I understand a desire for exotic birds and animals as pets or consumption. But the price is too great to ignore; you may expose your loved one to harm.”
Conservator of Forest Denny Dipchansingh said the illicit trade in wildlife in TT remains a concern
Dipchansingh said several measures had been implemented to deal with these problems. These included joint patrols and inspections by forest officers, game wardens and officers from the National Security Ministry.
“Once perpetrators are found in breach of the Conservation of Wildlife Act (CWA), charges are laid against them. We continuously monitor pet shops, as this is where the sales occur. We do educational drives and public awareness at all levels. We carry out increased patrols outside the normal working hours to prevent further breaches to the CWA.”
He said the Forestry Division had done training programmes for the police, the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), and other state agencies on wildlife enforcement and education. Officials from the Forestry Division, Wildlife section, are assisting the TTPS in securing the animals and returning them to a suitable habitat.
The Minister is urging citizens to report any suspected cases to the TTPS.