National Trust secures CI$421K grant for wildlife research – Cayman Islands Headline News – Cayman News Service


(CNS): The National Trust for the Cayman Islands has been awarded over CI$421,000 in Darwin Plus R10 funding for a three-year project on Grand Cayman. The research work, in partnership with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), is to preserve endemic threatened wildlife populations through effective protected area management. The sizeable grant will be used to help the Trust manage the Colliers Wilderness Reserve and the Salina Reserve and inform procedures for all protected areas, across all three islands.
The pressure on Grand Cayman’s natural environment remains high and populations of endemic wildlife are largely restricted to within protected areas. A number of species of plants and animals, including the iconic blue iguana and the Grand Cayman parrot, that are reliant on protected habitats will be important players in the work.
“Understanding these species allows us to make informed decisions about how we manage and protect these areas and understand things such as important habitat types, threats to different species and the impact of non-native invasive species,” said Luke Harding, the Blue Iguana Conservation Programme Manager, who secured the grant.
“As well as studying the plants and animals, the work will also look at monitoring climate data within these key areas. Although we have key target species the work will have a positive impact across less known species of plants and animals endemic to Cayman,” he said.
Aside from the research aspect, a large component of this grant will be focused on capacity building, training staff, interns, volunteers and students to develop skills required to work in the environmental science field. Community engagement and education are also part of the funding.
“We plan to develop and promote new educational materials and initiatives to get the community directly involved and empowered to make a difference in protecting these areas for future generations,” Harding added. “We are extremely excited to have been successful with this application and now have a unique opportunity to develop staff, volunteers and students through training to help them play an essential role in the protection of these important wildlife areas and increase the expertise and experience for future roles and positions on Island.”
The grant will fill knowledge gaps, including key endemic wildlife population sizes, threats, habitat use and establishing sustainable invasive species management.
“Our protected areas, such as the Colliers Wilderness Reserve and Salina Reserve, provide vital habitat for so many important species and we need to better understand these areas and how species use them to ensure we can expand and protect these important areas and others like them across our islands,” Harding said.
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Start by fining and/or jailing all who have caged Cayman Parrots as pets. That shouldn’t cost anything and perhaps could add funds to this noble project.
Maybe they could use it to cull the chickens.
If we really want to preserve threatened wild life we need to look at turtles, conch , lobsters etc that are poached every day around our islands and train and pay more game wardens.
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