Saint Lucia’s Forestry Department has expressed grave concern following the discovery of a boa constrictor at the Boys Training Centre (BTC) at Gros Islet.
The Department received a report of the discovery on Sunday, rescued the animal, and returned it to the wild.
It was the first time in recent memory that people had reported spotting a boa in Gros Islet.
According to the Forestry Department, the reptile’s usual habitat is on the West Coast, including Canaries, Anse La Raye, and Millet and the East Coast, including Dennery and Praslin.
Senior Wildlife Conservation Officer Puis Haynes told St Lucia Times that the Boa at Gros Islet was a male measuring about six feet.
“Our best bet is that persons are translocating the boa,” Haynes stated.
He explained that this could happen by accident if someone goes to the reptile’s natural habitat and the snake stows away in a vehicle.
On the other hand, the Forestry Department official explained that other factors may be involved.
“Maybe they wanted to keep it as a pet and somehow it escapes, or they might release the animal because they cannot care for it,” he said.
Whatever the case, Haynes disclosed that people need a permit to keep any wildlife in captivity, and he advised members of the public not to interfere with protected animals.
“It is not lawful to pick up the animal and translocate it to another area without permission from the Forestry Department,” he told St Lucia Times.
Haynes observed that translocating boas to an area where they do not normally live may result in new colonies of the animal and unnecessary conflicts with humans.
“It just brings negative attention to the animal when it is found in an area where historically it has not been found,” he explained.
“Saint Lucia is a small Island, so typically, all the major ecosystems are more or less the same so a boa would survive almost anywhere in Saint Lucia,” Haynes disclosed.
“But the main consequence would be bringing negative attention to the animal because persons would see it where they have not seen it before, and they would be afraid,” Haynes noted.