Environmentalists raise concern over habit threats

| 29/08/2013

(CNS): According to environmentalists in the neighbouring island of Jamaica one if its largest protected areas is under threat. In circumstances not unlike those in Cayman, Jamaica has already lost significant tropical dry forest and trying to protect what is left from development is a losing battle. Activists there now say that the Portland Bight Protected Area, recognized as one of the last and greatest remaining examples of tropical dry forest, is threated by a trans-shipment port proposed by China Harbour Engineering Company — the Beijing based firm that raised controversy here in the Cayman Islands with its involvement with the UDP government and the potential cruise berthing facility.

Campaigners in Jamaica say that Goat Islands, included in the Portland Bight, have long been recognized as extremely important for habitat conservation and the reintroduction of the Jamaica’s critically endangered iguana there has prevented its extinction.  The area is already under threat from local pressures for charcoal and this potential development could spell the end for the habitat.

In Beijing, on 22 August Jamaica’s environment minister, Robert Pickersgill, announced that Goat Islands is “under very serious consideration” as the site for the planned port.  Aside from the threat to the rare habitat and the endangered iguana, environmentalists also warn that the industrial port would also have serious negative effects on the marine environment and threaten the fish sanctuaries.

Activists are asking people to write to the local press to demonstrate their opposition to the proposed development and concern about the pressing need to protect the scarce habitat.
Letters@gleanerjm.com and Editorial@jamaicaobserver.com

See more at ICUN http://www.iucn-isg.org/latest-news/environmental-threat-in-jamaica/

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