Trust secures protection of wetlands

| 28/01/2016 | 24 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Brac parrot (left) and Grand Cayman parrot (right), courtesy of the Cayman Turtle Farm

(CNS): The National Trust for the Cayman Islands has used cash in its Land Reserve Fund collected in 2015 to buy another 131 acres of wetlands, bringing the total area of this vital ecosystem under protection to 900 acres and advancing the non-profit organisation’s goal of having 10% of sensitive local land legally protected. This year the Trust will be focusing on raising cash to protect dry forest, the habitat of the Cayman parrot, the national bird.

The Trust also plans to ensure the land it is entrusted to conserve gains additional protection by proposing that some of its land become Conservation Areas under the National Conservation Law (NCL).

Funds that are raised this year for the Land Reserve Fund will be used to buy important parrot habitat that can build upon existing Trust land to provide a wider protected area for Cayman’s national bird.

“In addition to donations to the Land Reserve Fund the Trust is working on a funding partnership with an interested international conservation group to further increase the amount of parrot habitat that it can purchase and protect under the National Trust Law,” officials said in a release. “Land protected in this way is declared inalienable, protect by the National Trust for the benefit and enjoyment of the Cayman Islands, both its people and its birds.”

Cayman News Service

Grand Cayman parrot

The conservation organisation said it would be a groundbreaking achievement if the Trust succeeds in this purchase of conservation land in Cayman with international support. It is only being considered because of the demonstrated strength and success of the Trust’s land purchase and protection programme, it said.

The Trust hopes to extend protection around the Cayman Brac Parrot Reserve, which is dominated by pristine, ancient dry forest on a very rough and rocky terrain. A great diversity of native trees, including species not present on Grand Cayman or Little Cayman, support breeding forest birds such as the Red-legged Thrush, White-crowned Pigeon (“Bald Pate”) and Black-whiskered Vireo. In the winter months, the reserve is filled with neo-tropical migrant songbirds, escaping cold northern climates.

Buying up land to protect it will help save the endemic, endangered parrot for which the reserve is named. Human development and habitat loss have put the Cayman Brac parrot (Amazona leucocephala hesterna) into dire straits.

“The Brac Parrot is a subspecies of the Cuban Amazon parrot and can only be found on Cayman Brac, but the loss of many of the trees that they used for shelter and food have made it harder for the otherwise hardy birds to withstand the hurricanes that frequently batter our islands. Hundreds of birds died during hurricanes Ivan in 2004 and Paloma in 2008,” officials said.

Cayman News Service

Cayman Brac parrot

There are now only an estimated 425 pairs of the Brac parrot, including just 20 to 60 breeding pairs. The biggest danger right now is that the trees the birds would use for reproduction and nesting are disappearing as new subdivisions pop up across the islands. The long-term future of the parrots depends critically on the conservation of enough old-growth forest areas on the Brac to support this inherently endangered species.

“We hope supporters will join the growing number of friends and benefactors who believe that our untouched forests and habitats are valuable and vulnerable, and urgently need to be protected. To those of you who have not yet had the opportunity to support these efforts, we invite you to become a friend of the Land Reserve Fund and create a legacy that will live forever,” said Executive Director Christina Pineda.

“Friends or Benefactors of the Land Reserve Fund are encouraged to make a minimum donation of CI$2,500. Even better, a 5 year commitment of CI$2,500, $5,000 or CI$10,000 annually will allow us to purchase needed land now,” said Trust Council member Janet Walker, who spearheads the campaign.

To make a pledge or for more information, email Clare Lumsden at 

Land Reserve Fund supporters will be among the guests of honour at the biennial Governor’s Conservation Awards at Her Excellency’s residence in November 2016.

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Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (24)

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  1. Sharkey says:

    While I support the promotion of the national trust in preserving habitats and preserving the land for the future of the Islands, I think that asking for a minimum donation of $2,500 is little offensive to one that can’t afford $2,500 but would like to help in the cause . I think that if those kind of dollars were asked from people / companies directly would have been a better way to fund raising. But making the public feel that if they can’t afford to donate $2,500 , could make them feel left out or discriminated against because of that dollar amount. I think that if the Trust had 2,500 $ 25.00 would be better than 1 or 2 $2,500 donations.

  2. satirony says:

    It’s hard to imagine where land conservation and biodiversity would be in Cayman without the Trust’s tireless work. I can never understand those who are negative about it, unless of course their idea of paradise is one that is entirely man-made. The more you learn about Nature, the more complex, interdependent and astonishing it becomes, and the idea of destroying much of it before you understand it is like cutting off he branch you are sitting on. The problem is, we are all sitting on the same branch. So to the Trust I say, “thank you for all that you do to keep our branch strong!”

  3. Kman says:

    Great work and positive news for the preservation of our natural environment. Why doesn’t our government release the $50 million that’s held in our environmental fund an enable the National Trust so that they can purchase more land and restore old historical Caymanian buildings.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The National Trust has many other campaigns that any individual can support, including a monthly giving club where the minimum suggested donation is CI$10!! The Land Reserve Fund is just one its giving campaigns so to extrapolate that the Trust would not want a donation of any size is simply ignorant and quite frankly sad. The Trust needs all the help it can get, it just happens that the Land Reserve Fund is the major giving campaign running in January and February (hence the timing of the press release) concurrently with other campaigns of all sizes.

  5. Animaliberator says:

    It may be fair to say that since a minimum donation is required which indeed is too selective among willing participants, perhaps Janet Walker and a few other high worth individuals would simply purchase the required land on behalf of the Trust and be paid back by the incoming donations over time. This will also allow anybody wishing to participate to do so without being discriminated based on their social background.

    A much larger problem is that indeed due to the ever diminishing amount of dry forest in particular, that is habitat to birds such as our local parrot which has already resulted that these animals are seeking alternative habitats and subsequently interfere with our local farmers who then as a protective measure shoot them on sight, protected species or not. Other habitats are being lost due to new developments that also carries little or no regard for wildlife as a whole. Having said that, it seems to have become a rather urgent matter to protect whatever the Trust has concluded requires protection, land and animal alike, for those individuals to jump into action as noted in my opening paragraph. The alternative would be that long periods of time will lapse which may make it too late to save whatever needs to be saved in order to reach the objective.

    With lots of thanks in advance to those individuals who are capable of contributing to such a noble and worth while cause.


  6. Anonymous says:

    This month I got CI $10 free. Seems like they don’t need it, if $2500 is the minimum for a seat at the Governors party! Is that really the message they are trying to send? If so they can f**k right off, my money will go to a charity that appreciates it. Clearly a charity only for the benefit of well to do Caymanians!

    • Anonymous says:

      Great job – you have managed to make a negative comment about one of the few positive stories in the news. You should read the article again as you clearly did not get the message.

      If you believe that preserving the environment only benefits rich people then you have a lot more reading to do.

    • Anonymous says:

      And that sort of attitude might well explain why you are so poor.

    • Anonymous says:

      I know it hurts to see these groups looking for big-money donors but its the best way to raise the big money needed for big projects. A lot of them have smaller-money / smaller-project options as well. But if you weren’t so mean-spirited you would know that, right?

      As someone, from anther organization, explained it to me ‘I can go to one person for $100 or I can go to 10 people for $10 dollars; finding the one person actually uses less of my time, so I can then go look for the second $100 person’. (Yes, they knew different people than me. But they were known as good fundraisers which is why I asked their advice for my church.)

      • Anonymous says:

        My point exactly-this is not about “normal people” or normal “Caymanians”, the very people who should wish for this admittedly great work. The replies (especially 9.08) to my comments are from condescending idiots who probably just do this for the sake of their PR applications but otherwise could not give two hoots. It further shows complete insensitivity to people who do not earn as much, but whom may wish to participate. I think their messaging is wrong, if the woodland is to be saved for the benefit of the public, then the campaign should be aimed at the population as a whole with some “buy in” education on the way to increase awareness. 8.34-positive story? Yes, if you have a lot of spare cash, slap in the face if you want to help but cannot.

        • Anonymous says:

          Caymunkind Supernova.

        • Anonymous says:

          If you took the time to educate yourself on the work of the National Trust then you wouldn’t make such an ignorant comment. This is only one way in which they preserve our history and environment – go on the website and see how easy it is to donate or better yet why don’t you become a member ($30 per year) and get involved.

          Yes, it is a positive story when an organisation raises money and buys over 100 acres of land to preserve for future generations. That is money that was well spent and they have accounted to their donors.

          • Anonymous says:

            If I had 30 dollars I would….it been great fun seeing how pretentious you can get. Apart from two well balanced comments the rest of you feel very superior in your wealth! There is some comment somewhere about rich men and the kingdom of Heaven. Good luck with that.

            • Anonymous says:

              The posters’ wealth is not the subject of most of these posts, in fact all of them. The posts are about your bad attitude and the realities of effective charitable collection programmes. But your attitude clouds your interpretation of the posts, your stinking attitude causes your stinking thinking.

              • Anonymous says:

                Why is it that people with more money than others think that the others have a bad attitude? Come the revolution you will be first against the wall.

                • Anonymous says:

                  I do find the poor quite depressing. That is why I do not mix with them other than when I have to give instructions to the help.

            • Anonymous says:

              If one believed the likes of you 5:27, one would come to the belief that Cayman has become a bitter, divided, introverted, selfish, unimpressive little place that should be left alone to whining “generational” Caymanians and mosquitoes.

        • Anonymous says:

          It is about normal people, including Caymanians doing this because they love Cayman not for points like you’re trying to score. You miss the point that this is one project aimed at one group of people. The last one I recall the Trust doing, their ‘I Am Cayman’ Facebook campaign, didn’t cost anything to post a picture. That was all about ‘buy in’. Did you buy in, or did you ignore it because it wasn’t something you could complain about?

    • Anonymous says:

      They will be happy to have your $10. You can be a member for $30. Meanwhile they are asking the heavyweights to put up more. Why is this a problem for you?

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