Nov 07, 2012 News
…debate begins on new closed season
Government has started consultations with traders of wild birds for a new closed season that will help to protect species, including the popular macaws.
During a key meeting at the Wildlife Division offices in Sophia on Monday, traders also complained of illegal bird trade between Guyana and Suriname, the only two South American countries involved in the trade. The main issue has to do with the decades-old legislation – the Wildlife Act of 1919 – which does not cater for the now widespread belief that birds would nest in the wet season…between December and April.
While there were debates on issues affecting the trade, it was agreed that the current closed season of April 1st to August 1 is not working. There are proposals to have this shifted to between December/January to April/May.
Guyana now wants to move the season more in line with that of Suriname, where the closed season for not trapping birds is between December and June. Yesterday, officials were also told that there is evidence that some trappers in Guyana and Suriname would take advantage in the different closed seasons between the two territories to trap birds and smuggle them across the borders for trade, a development that is being frowned on by both governments.
Guyana will be raising the issue with Suriname authorities.
The Wildlife Division, which monitors the trade by issuing permits and making mandatory checks on the holding facilities, is looking to make adjustments to the key laws, but the local operators Monday said that there should be a comprehensive review of the situation, with scientific studies, before any such law changes.
Guyana is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) – an international agreement between governments which aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
The Wildlife Division is said to earn up to $50M annually from the trade. There are 17 licenced wildlife exporters but only 12 are permitted to export birds.
Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, Robert Persaud, who attended the discussion, noted that the proposed measures are designed to further protect the trade…both in terms of the species and the stakeholders, in order to ensure continuity.
The official pointed out that with Guyana and Suriname – the only two South American countries involved in the trade of wildlife birds – efforts will have to be made to examine other models.
Head of the Wildlife Division, Alona Sankar, disclosed that it is a known fact that young birds are at their most vulnerable after the nesting period and it is imperative that there be time for replenishment. There are proposals on the table, she said, for the period to be moved from April -August to January – May.
Guyana’s birds, especially the finches (“twa-twa”) and macaws, are in high demand overseas, especially in Europe, fetching in some cases, thousands of US dollars apiece. (Leonard Gildarie)
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