The Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) is concerned over garbage and human excrement left behind after illegal visits to the Maria Islands and the impact on endangered and endemic species there.
The SLNT noted that the Islands are a protected nature reserve.
In a public notice on Wednesday, the Trust explained that the Islands are home to species, including the Saint Lucia Whiptail lizard and Saint Lucia Racer.
According to the Trust, the Saint Lucia Racer is recognised as the world’s rarest snake, with a population of only twenty.
Due to the species’ critically endangered status, the organisation said strict bio-security controls are in effect.
“Visits to the Maria Islands are only authorised through the National Trust,” the SLNT observed.
The environmental and heritage membership conservation group also stated that discarding garbage, including glass bottles, creates bio-security hazards and could lead to fires and the possible extinction of the species.
The SLNT warned that anyone found on the Maria Islands without the organisation’s permission would be committing an illegal act under the Wildlife Protection Act, No. 9 of 1980.
On summary conviction, transgressors would be liable to a fine not exceeding five thousand dollars or a term of imprisonment not exceeding twelve months.
The Trust appreciated the public interest in visiting the Maris Islands Nature Reserve.
However, the organisation disclosed that the reserve is now closed to visits due to the breeding season of some species.
Tours will resume in 2024.