Last update: 11-Dec-2013 5:04 pm
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Let hunting and game management work together
Lots has been said on the subject of hunting and conservation and the debate will no doubt continue. Different sides are passionately defended by people who in fact have one important thing in common, a great love for our beautiful country, its peoples, their various cultures and deeply embedded traditions. Also, they love our beautiful mountains, forests, savannahs, rivers and the rich diversity of the flora and fauna that abound within our shores.
We can all agree we would want to ensure we are able to enjoy the benefits of their existence for ourselves and our children and many more generations to come. And so, as every right-minded citizen knows—whether hunter or conservationist—those indigenous treasures must be carefully tended if the rich traditions and customs associated with our land are to be preserved and passed on from father to son. These lasting bonds and lifelong relationships contribute to the building of quality values in our nation’s families.
For many of us, to conceive of a year without hunting is like trying to conceive of life without the Queen’s Park Savannah, the August vacation, Easter or Christmas holidays, doubles or roti.
The voice of the hound as they raise the scent and the change in pitch as they “jam” is like music to our ears, sweeter than any pan. The smell of wood smoke from the fire, fresh brewed coffee, roast bake made “fire on top and fire below”, “meh grandfather cocoa tea”, curry stew agouti and provision, bring joy to my soul, especially when seasoned with a liberal dose of ol’ talk and fatigue.
We fully endorse the management and protection of our forest and its wildlife but there has been so far no supporting scientific evidence to back a call for any moratorium on hunting. Everywhere in the world, hunting and game management have worked together to manage, preserve and increase wild game population and we have no problem with this at all.
But don’t tell me stop hunting for three years and this will magically allow the agouti population to prosper. Shouldn’t we deal with the far greater evil of illegal hunting and trapping, the selling of wild meat in the closed season, the destruction of habitat by illegal quarrying, logging and wanton setting of bush fires?
Our forests, rivers and savannahs are far more important to us here, than any much-touted “eco-tourism” project. From my personal observation there is just no evidence of the necessary work being done in the “closed season” to justify the closing of the “open season.” It’s like we have the whole August vacation to repair the schools and when school is supposed to be opened, the maintenance work that should have been carried out has not, and so now we have to use the school term to do the work. This is absurd.
Do the work necessary in the closed season. Patrol, police and enforce the existing regulations. Put in place reasonable measures and rotating wild life sanctuaries. Restrict hunting “bag limit” of species perceived to be under threat. Hire and train game wardens and forest rangers. But please don’t tell me that because you don’t eat wild meat, you don’t care about no hunter man.
You are insulting the tens of thousands of our taxpaying, law-abiding citizens and treating our finest traditions and customs with scorn. We want our natural resources managed properly and preserved for the generations of fathers and sons and daughters, uncles and nephews, cousins and best of friends that they may enjoy their God-given heritage.
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