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Take mom exploring this Mother’s Day!

Our country’s biodiversity is especially important. Biodiversity is the collective term for the variety of life on Earth in all its forms. Biodiversity is responsible for our food, soil, water, weather, even the air we breathe.

Our twin islands are home to a rich plethora of biodiversity. The terrestrial ecosystems include evergreen seasonal, semi-evergreen seasonal, deciduous seasonal, littoral woodlands, lower montane rainforests, seasonal montane forests, montane rainforests, elfin woodlands, swamp forests (including mangrove woodlands), palm swamps, marshes, and savannahs.

These ecosystems support approximately 2160 species of flowering plants, 433 species of birds, 100 species of mammals, 37 species of amphibians and 93 species of reptiles including 47 species of snakes.

Our marine systems include the water masses, mud bottoms, coral reefs and communities, sandy bottoms, rocky shores, sea grass beds and mud flats. The marine systems support a range of macro and microbiota including a broad range of commercially important fish species and 36 species of reef-building corals.

According to the Environmental Management Act (EM Act) protecting the environment is a priority, especially as it relates to protecting our biodiversity. Environmentally Sensitive Species (ESSs) are plants or animals which have been designated as such under section 41 of the Environmental Management Act 2000.

The current ESSs are Trinidad Piping-guan (Pawi), West Indian Manatee, White-tailed, Saber-wing Hummingbird, Golden Tree Frog, Ocelot, Olive Ridley Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle, Green Turtle, Loggerhead Turtle, Scarlet Ibis, and the Leatherback Turtle.

Environmentally Sensitive Areas include the Aripo Savannas Strict Nature Reserve, Matura National Park, and Nariva Swamp Managed Resource Protected Area. These species and areas are protected by law and our protecting them is the responsibility of all citizens.

As we celebrate Mother’s Day this year, instead of buying mom a present, spend some quality time with her by taking her on a field trip to any nature excursion to explore our country’s biodiversity.

Turtle watching is a splendid option as you get the opportunity to view the Leatherback Turtles. The viewing of these magnificent sea creatures helps you appreciate the species and understand the need for its preservation.

Another idea is a visit to the Caroni Swamp where you can have the luxury of viewing the beautiful Scarlet Ibis by the hundreds. It is really a breathtaking experience. In addition, you get the opportunity to view the flora and other fauna of the swamp such as the mangroves.

I want to wish all mothers and mother-figures a Happy Mother’s Day, especially my mother, Sherry Sankar and my godmother, Mary Boland. I hope it is a wonderful day well spent with your loved ones.


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