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Caring for our country’s wildlife

Trinidad and Tobago is one of the most bio-diverse places in the world, filled with wildlife unlike any other.

‘Wildlife’ can be defined as all organisms (animals & plants) living in their natural habitat without the possession or control of human beings.

Trinidad and Tobago is home to over 3,000 species and counting, including 85 endemic species. We have 470 species of birds where there are only 270 species in the whole rest of the Caribbean.

An example of one of the unique species is the Tufted Coquette. The tufted coquette is a tiny hummingbird that breeds in eastern Venezuela, Trinidad, Guiana, and northern Brazil. It appears to be a local or seasonal migrant, although its movements are not well understood. It is listed as the second smallest bird in the world.

Here is a list of some of the other wildlife that we host here in Trinidad: ruby-topaz hummingbird, scarlet ibis, yellow-rumped cacique, leatherback sea turtle, Trinidad cherron tarantula, silky anteater, white-fronted capuchin, snowy egret, white hawk, tree boa (snake) & channel-billed toucan. More of these animals can be viewed on the El Socorro Centre for Wildfire Conservation website.

Unfortunately, there are individuals who exploit the wildlife of this country for their own benefit. Wildlife is often poached, which means they are killed illegally. This activity reduces our wildlife and destroys our bio-diversity even further.

The government of Trinidad and Tobago has permitted hunting from the beginning of October to the end of February, and then between the hours of 9.30 a.m. to 7.30 p.m. Any shooting or trapping of wildlife outside this period is illegal. Another threat to our wildlife is the destruction of forested areas, thus destroying the homes of many of these species and contributing to their extinction.

Nevertheless, there is still hope because there are organisations whose goal is preserving the lives of these precious creatures. These include: Wildlife and Environmental Protection of Trinidad & Tobago, Caroni Bird Sanctuary and El Socorro Center for Wildlife Conservation, among others.

They work tirelessly to educate the public, create habitats for species and rehabilitate them where necessary. Furthermore, the citizens of this nation also have a part to play by following the laws and educating others of the wildlife’s importance to our ecosystem.

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