In light of creole heritage month, the Forestry Department wishes to inform the general public that permission must be obtained from the Department in order to take or hunt protected wildlife such as the Agouti and Manicou (also known as the opossum).
These species are listed under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act as fully protected wildlife and are therefore not permitted for hunting without a valid permit.
Section 17 (e) states that ‘A person commits an offence who exposes or offers for sale or purchase any protected wildlife or any part of such wildlife or the eggs, fry or young thereof without a valid permit’.
The Department further notes that under section 4 of the Act, ‘any person who commits an offence under this Act is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $5,000 and or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 12 months’.
In short, Forestry wishes to inform the general public that the sale of wildlife meat is strictly illegal without a valid permit or license.
Wildlife species such as the Saint Lucia iguana are particularly vulnerable and face the risk of extinction due to the restricted and degraded nature of their natural habitat.
For instance, the Saint Lucia iguana faces may threats including habitat loss and predation by invasive species such as mongooses which feed on iguana eggs and hatchlings.
It is therefore our duty as St. Lucians to protect this unique species which is found only in St. Lucia.
The Forestry Department over the years has engaged in educating the public of the importance of protecting our vulnerable endemic wildlife species of birds, reptiles and mammals among others, which play an invaluable role in maintaining the balance and richness of our natural environment.
Anyone who is involved in the illegal hunting, sale and purchasing of protected wildlife is urged to cease such activities immediately, or if caught will be charged under the Wildlife Protection Act.
For further information, please contact the Chief Forest Officer, Mr. Alwin Dornelly, at telephone number 717-3919 or 468-5634 or the Assistant Chief Forest Officer, Mr. Pius Haynes at telephone number 518 – 7154.
SOURCE: Ministry of Agriculture