Last update: 11-Dec-2013 10:53 pm
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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T&T needs hunting moratorium
An unusual thing happened in Costa Rica in 2012. Its parliament voted to ban hunting. Not one MP voted against. Party lines blurred and politicians united to do the right thing, that which Costa Rica has become known for: protecting biodiversity. The world applauded, countless media reports flashed around the globe and the Costa Rican country brand was strengthened. Ecotourists recognise that brand, and last year a record 2.34 million visitors lavished US$2.4 billion on the country. Do good things and good things will come to you. In Costa Rica, biodiversity, tourism, economy and legislation are locked in an upwardly spiralling symbiotic relationship. It’s time we start doing the right thing in T&T. We need to.
We think of ourselves as an ecotourism destination, but our wildlife numbers are being stressed by overhunting and habitat loss. Tourism arrivals show the same general malaise. Our ecotourism brand is weak, because it has no solid foundation. We can change that. We preach that we want ecotourism; we must start by practising ecotourism-friendly wildlife management. Hunting season is around the corner. It starts on October 1 and lasts until February 28 next year. It’s one of the world’s longest hunting seasons; there are no bag limits, nor much data to base a scientific wildlife management policy on. It’s not all doom and gloom. There’s a growing lobby for a hunting moratorium, and rumour has it that Minister Ganga Singh, of the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, is in support of it.
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