[CT Birds] Shorebird hunting in the Carribean

Anthony Zemba Anthony.Zemba at gza.com
Thu Sep 15 14:54:00 EDT 2011

David Provencher is spot-on once again. This is not a new issue but one that has been recognized as a conservation threat for a long time due to its complex issues. To quote the words of Maurice Anselme of the Guadeloupe National Park Service (Addressing threats to Avian Conservation in: Raffaele et al., 1998),

"Hunting and the loss of wildlife habitat are the principle problems. Hunting in France is regarded as a legacy of the French Revolution of 1789 and is therefore strongly defended by an ever-increasing lobby. A great deal of damage is caused in Guadeloupe by its 2,300 hunters whose activities are neither organized nor controlled. Hunting takes place during the breeding season of certain species such as pigeons, and there are no bag limits or hunting records. Even some protected species are illegally hunted".

Clearly from this writing there is a need for the following:

§  hunting regulations

§  monitoring of hunters

§  monitoring of migratory and resident populations of animals of conservation concern

§  enforcement of hunting regulations

§  conservation education

§  Hunting education

§  Taxation of sportsmen with monies collected to support the monitoring and enforcement programs

§  Development of ecotourism to create an additional/alternative economic value on wildlife

§  Acquisition of conservation lands where conservation programs can specifically be controlled,

§  Etc.

and indeed Anselme continues his writing to identify some of the above as necessary and concludes by saying "it is desirable to harmonize the control of hunting throughout the Caribbean in order to ensure the conservation of migratory birds as well as endemic species".

International programs like Birdlife International's IBA program supplement the various national and international environmental legislations to which France is a signatory. (Yes, Guadeloupe is not a country but a French Overseas Territory). These programs are beginning to bring to light some of these conservation issues.  It seems it is only effective though by putting people (staff) on the ground and operating in the area in conjunction with local stakeholders. This tends to be very costly but progress is being made. Things work very sloooooooooow in the Caribbean.

According to Veronica Anadon of Birdlife International:
"Since 2005, the countries of the insular Caribbean have been involved in a project to identify priority sites for waterbirds. The project was part of a broad initiative "Advancing a Range-wide Approach to Waterbird Conservation at Priority Sites throughout the Neotropics" implemented by the BirdLife International partnership on behalf of the Waterbird Conservation for the Americas. In the Caribbean, the work has been undertaken in collaboration with the Society for Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds (SCSCB).The project has identified Important Bird Areas (IBAs) for waterbirds, and it is hoped that these priorities will be used to strategically advance waterbird and wetland conservation across the region. The whole Americas-wide initiative was funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Service Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act."
If you can read French, you can read about bird conservation in Guadaloupe in Levesque and Mathurin's (2007) La Conservation d'oiseaux d'eau pour les Amériques
Here is a link: http://www.birdlife.org/action/science/species/waterbirds/waterbirds_pdf/Waterbirds_Profile_Caribbean_Guadeloupe_v0.pdf
This document provides one of the more recent accounts of conservation status, threats, and needs in Guadeloupe. I applaud these international conservation efforts and support them through donations and otherwise.
One must remember that, given the socio-economic diversity of the region, a wholesale change in thinking across the general public can be more challenging than some other parts of the world and is not to be immediately expected.  In my experience working and touring in the Caribbean, there is a huge disparity among the various islands (and even among the communities on the same island) and how they view, value, teach, and feel about the environment and natural resource management. These views and values have been shaped over many generations and shaped by a plethora of political, social, financial, traditional, and other cultural influences.  That is not to say that we are not all faced with many of the same issues and challenges here in the USA, it just seems much more magnified and critical in a geographically isolated oceanic island.

Anthony Zemba CHMM

Certified Ecologist / Soil Scientist

GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc.

655 Winding Brook Drive

Suite 402

Glastonbury, CT 06033


1350 Main Street

Springfield, MA 01103


860-966-5888 (cell)

413-732-1249 (fax)

anthony.zemba at gza.com

-----Original Message-----
From: ctbirds-bounces at lists.ctbirding.org [mailto:ctbirds-bounces at lists.ctbirding.org] On Behalf Of David F Provencher
Sent: Thursday, September 15, 2011 10:46 AM
To: ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org
Subject: Re: [CT Birds] Shorebird hunting in the Carribean

The issues of conservation/protection of natural resources are complex. That is not equivocating, they just are. We are faced with economic stresses, philosophical differences, traditional differences, illegal exploitations, and more. Consequently the solutions have to be multifaceted, and often take time to come into effect. As individuals we can make a difference through supporting organizations such as CT Audubon and COA, and supporting specific efforts made by respected conservation organizations. It is also very effective to directly contact elected officials (regardless of how you feel about them) and clearly express your concerns about conservation/environmental issues. But the best thing anyone can do to help in the long term is to get involved with educating children about the natural world (I tip my hat here to Flo McBride). The biggest positive changes will come through education leading to cultural shifts.

Specifically regarding this issue, I agree 100% with Twan's advice, which I take the liberty to quote here:

"I would suggest you contact any of the organizations involved (although TNC, and perhaps Manomet, may be the ones who can most effectively convert your voice into lobbying action) and indicate that you support any steps they can take to stop this senseless slaughter." - TL

Dave Provencher

P.S. I think we all know the quote: "Be the change you want to see in the world." As far as quotes go, that is a (insert expletive here) good one.

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