Last update: 07-Dec-2013 3:12 am
Saturday, December 07, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Hefty fines for illegal hunting
Significant increases in fines and jail terms are to be imposed on anyone who breaches the two-year ban on hunting which takes effect from October 1. This warning came from the Environment and Water Resources Minister, Ganga Singh, during yesterday’s post-Cabinet news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister, St Clair. And Singh said despite the threats from some stakeholders not to vote in elections, the Government was prepared to do what was right in the national interest. He appealed to those who were objecting to the ban to join the Government in the exercise. The ban is to be imposed because of a significant depletion of the country’s wildlife resources, Singh added. He said there was widespread consultation in January and February and the ban was being implemented in the interest of all citizens.
Singh said the two-year moratorium was discussed with stakeholders, including the T&T Hunters Association, on August 28, and discussions were also held with the executive of the Confederation of Hunters Association and the South-Eastern Hunters Association. From 2010-2011, he said, some 22,465 game licences were sold; for 2011/2012 a total of 18,990; and for 2012/2013 some 21,236 game licences were sold. The licences permitted the hunting of agouti, birds, lappe, deer, alligator/lizards, wild hog, quenk, armadillo (tatou) and water fowl.
“We have to protect our babies in the wildlife,” he added. “If this is allowed to continue, the wildlife population will be exterminated.” Singh said there were more than 400 illegal hunting camps which will be destroyed by the security forces. Describing the situation as “alarming,” he said Cabinet had agreed to several landmark changes. He listed some of the penalties that were approved at Cabinet.
Hunting any animal in a game sanctuary: from $1,000 and three months’ imprisonment to $100,000 and one year in jail
Taking a dog into a game sanctuary for hunting: from $1,000 and three months’ imprisonment to $100,000 and one year imprisonment
Hunting a protected animal without a special licence from the Chief Game Warden: from $1,000 and three months’ imprisonment to $50,000 for each animal
Hunting in the close season, without a special game licence and not under the special conditions to exercise dogs in lands other than the forest reserve and game sanctuaries: from $2,000 and six months’ imprisonment to $100,000 and two years’ imprisonment.
Animals hunted 2012/2013.
Agouti - 23,911
Deer - 2,321
Birds - 465
Lappe - 4,250
Wild hog - 387
Water fowl - 3,944
Alligators and lizards - 19,221.
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