NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Police apprehended two people for suspected poaching in Bonefish Pond National Park on the southern shores of New Providence this weekend.
This comes as the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) noted increased reports of illegal poaching in national parks from the killing of endangered rock iguanas in Andros to juvenile conch fished from their nursery in Bonefish Pond.
The BNT also noted industrial landfill trucks were observed in the area of Harold & Wilson Pond National Park last week Tuesday.
“The development of property in the area is encroaching upon protected lands and the BNT is appealing for construction to halt until further investigation,” the statement read.
In a statement, the BNT said a reconnaissance mission took place on Saturday in cooperation with law enforcement, media, park wardens and other essential nation parks service staff members.
Eric Carey, BNT Executive Director, said: “Reports of poaching and other concerns have increased exponentially. We’ve seen all sorts. Endangered rock iguanas being captured, caged and killed in Andros. Park wardens noting signs of poaching in Inagua of precious flamingo hatchlings. Crawfishing also takes place even in the closed season, with disregard for regulations. All acts are a blatant disregard for the law.”
The BNT said it hopes to be able to continue to rely on notifications from the public in regards to suspicious activity on parklands.
National parks are in benefit of Bahamians and their existence is essential to our way of life.
National parks throughout The Bahamas have been closed since March 20.
As such, the BNT said any person, other than exempted park wardens, in these protected areas have entered unlawfully.
“National parks are spawning grounds and nurseries for young animals like conch, sharks, bonefish, and turtles who rely on marine protected areas to grow to maturity and reproduce without manmade stressors to their environments such as construction and development or threats of being fished,” said Falon Cartwright, New Providence Parks Manager, Bahamas National Trust.
Cartwright further noted that while restrictions within national parks may present a sacrifice to people in the short term, especially during difficult times such as these, communities must ensure that these critical habitats and species can support food security and our economy more broadly in the future.
Under its purview, the BNT protects 32 national land and sea parks over more than two million acres, across 10 islands.
The patrolling of park wardens was deemed an essential service by the government in recognition of the importance of these areas and the necessity of conservation.
Anwar Rolle, BNT’s New Providence Park Warden, said: “Our work is essential and it has not stopped since the announcement of national lockdowns. It is unfortunate that some seek to take advantage of the quietness of this time, but know that we are standing guard. We continue to patrol and protect areas in New Providence and throughout our parks on all islands.”
To learn more about the vital work of the BNT and make an urgent donation towards the continuation of its mission to protect national parks throughout The Bahamas, visit its website: www.bnt.bs.