Bird hunting detrimental to Dominica’s wildlife population
They are known for their smoothing sounds, their beauty and simply being free but lately they are being threatened. The constant hunting of birds by ‘man’ has raised concerns among officials at the Forestry Division as bird watching plays a vital role in the country’s economy. Dominica houses approximately 170 species of birds, with 2 species being the blue-headed Hummingbird and the Plumbeous Warbler that are being shared with our sister islands Martinique, Guadeloupe and Marie Galante. Mr. Stephen Durand, assistant forest officer said that ‘man’ is the main factor in this threat.
“As you know agriculture is one of our main activities on the island and it involves the high demand for land,” said Mr. Durand.
He said, “Illegal hunting is one of the activities. As you know, there are 2 periods, the open and close season and in the open season only the red necked pigeon can be hunted at this time.”
Mr. Durand advised individuals to avoid transporting foreign species into the country.
“Some of these species especially in the parrot family are highly diseased and we have to be very careful that we do not bring these birds in because they will not only pose threats to the parrots but also agricultural industry as well. So we need to be very careful with such activities,” said the Forest Officer.
He said that although the Avian Flu poses as a threat, there have been no recorded cases in Dominica. Durand mentioned that the Forestry and Wildlife Division is working very hard to control and maintain the bird habitat. He said that the division is currently conducting awareness programs on Voice of Life radio and GIS, to name a few. According to Mr. Durand, these programs are very significant in heightening the public’s awareness on the importance of Dominica’s wildlife.
“Presently we are still in the close season. People should not be hunting and it is important for us to know what is happening out there and be aware of certain diseases. We should also be aware of certain actions that we can take to prevent these activities that can be detrimental to our wildlife population.