National Trust to step up conservation efforts

| 07/12/2017 | 37 Comments
Cayman News Service

Mastic Trail, Grand Cayman (Photo courtesy National Trust)

(CNS): The National Trust of the Cayman Islands has plans to step up conservation efforts in 2018 with the purchase of more land that it can protect for future generations in the face of growing challenges to the Cayman Islands’ natural resources. With so many threats to indigenous flora and fauna, the Trust is launching a focused campaign to boost its Land Reserve Fund to acquire important sites and protect endangered habitats. As the current administration appears to have declared war on the National Conservation Law, less than four years after it was passed with unanimous support, the Trust’s mission is more important than ever for local conservation.

“The Trust has some challenging goals to meet in order continue preserving native habitats in the Cayman Islands where so many indigenous but endangered species of trees, plants, birds and animals live,” the Trust stated this week, as it announced plans to increase fundraising in order to acquire more land. The Trust’s Environmental Programmes Manager, Stuart Mailer, said “Without action, survival of Cayman’s native wild plants and animals cannot be guaranteed, but we need the help of the community.”

Although the National Trust has a vibrant and high-profile heritage programme that helps keep Cayman’s heritage and culture alive, it is also the only charity based in Cayman the works to protect undeveloped land. The money raised for the land fund is used “wisely, prudently and effectively” to conserve important habitat in perpetuity, officials said.

The Trust currently owns, manages and protects a diverse range of pristine and wild habitats across all three islands, protecting them from development. But given the pace of change, there is a pressing need to acquire more wild areas before they completely disappear. 

“Unless we work quickly to set aside land for preservation, our indigenous species will be lost forever. But we still have the chance to make the Cayman Islands more resilient to this change by continuing to work on creating a system of protected areas,” Mailer said. 

With help from donors, the National Trust plans to acquire more “high priority” environmental areas for protection under its legislation. The aim is to protect bio diverse sensitive areas and the Trust hopes to purchase land in some of the important areas where it already owns land to shore up the protection and conservation. The Central Mangrove Wetland, the Mastic Forest and the Salina Reserve on Grand Cayman, the Parrot Reserve on Cayman Brac and the Booby Pond on Little Cayman are all critical habitats that the Trust already manages and is seeking to expand on.

The significance of protecting these types of habitat has been illustrated with the successful preservation of species which were thought to be lost. The Mastic Forest comprises the largest contiguous area of primary evergreen forest on Grand Cayman, which is almost undisturbed.It has retained the high biodiversity that has evolved over the last two million years and the discovery there of an endemic variety of the black mastic tree (Terminalia eriostachya), which was thought to be extinct, demonstrates the importance of protecting land from the bulldozer.

The Mastic Forest is one of several habitats that is critical to future conservation of local biodiversity and it remains a high priority for the Trust to acquire more land, but to do that it needs more funding. And that also means raising awareness and educating people about why the Trust needs the money and why it’s important.

To do this, the Trust team hosts a wide range of activities, such as giving talks and lectures within schools and colleges and at public events, working with scientists to assess and identify the most essential areas of land for preservation, and taking the public on organised walks along nature trails, such as the iconic Mastic Trail, so they can better understand the importance of these areas as well as enjoy their natural beauty. The team also carries out surveys and environmental studies, which are essential to monitoring and understanding how the scope of Cayman’s biodiversity is changing.

“The team at the National Trust work tirelessly to understand, identify and preserve the areas of land that are crucial to ensuring the unique and diverse range of plants, trees and creatures that we have here in Cayman,” said Trust director Christina Pineda. “Education plays a huge part in the work we are doing, and we need the next generations of Caymanians to be as passionate, if not more passionate, about maintaining the crucial balance between preservation and development.”

Planning a new and varied programme of events and activities for next year focusing on fund-raising and education, she said that the Trust would raise its profile in 2018.

Anyone who wants to learn more about the how to help the Trust or get further information about the work of the Land Reserve Fund become a Friend or a benefactor, call 749-1126 on or visit the office at the Family Park in South Sound and talk to one of the team.

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Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (37)

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  1. Shane e.connor says:

    “Level playing field they should have protected land in west bay road and George town ,people east of bodden town got rail roaded with their land straight to east end .we want piece of the economic pie too and we have always protected our land for the younger generation to enjoy so we don’t need you telling us what to do with our land .lol you are late hundred of years too.do you know how the iron wood looks ?? Check Arden mclean if you don’t know he could give you piece for your great, great grandchildren to see you and keep it in your living room .




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  2. Unison says:

    The Mastic Forest “has retained the high biodiversity that has EVOLVED over the last two million years.” Oh really? 🤔

    So my evolutionist friends of many whom are atheists, and have adopted the Sam Harris morality of survival of the fittest, taught in our schools:

    Please share with me, how these organisms in the Mastic Forest evolved from a simple twig to a bush of thousands of different trees and varieties?  And please don’t come with, ah Unison, it took place over millions or billions of years. What a lazy way of filling in the missing gaps 😆 You are the first ones to condemn religions for believing in fairytales, and you redicule those who think differently from you. So I am making it simple – tell me, in the name of science, where are the facts, where is proof in the mud pudding?

    Even your prideful atheists from the UK, Richard Dawkins, admitted, “evolution has been observed. It’s just that it hasn’t been observed while it’s happening” 😆  So please attempt to contradict what all like the prideful Dawkins has said – that the Mastic Forest has  evolved!

    Waiting for the empirical proof⏳

    And please give me common sense replies – not lazy Bible-bashing ones. I warn you, my mind is not like yours, “evolved” from some chimpanzee or monkey, belittled, and can’t be trusted. Niether do I have an animalistic morality as taught to many children in secular schools … Peace 😁

    Enjoying the nice weather ✌




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    • Am, Bobo, lissen ya says:

      Christians believe a snake talked to the first woman who was made from a rib, that a virgin gave birth to a divine child who later fed 5,000 people with 5 loaves and 2 fish & later rose from the dead. Yet evolutionary biology is too far fetched and being an atheist requires “more faith” than Christianity.

      “It takes more faith to be an atheist than it does to believe in God.”

      Oh, hell no.

      Maybe there would be a debate if belief in God were the only point of contention, but belief in the Christian God has a ton of baggage.

      Talking snakes?

      Woman from a rib?

      Two of every animal on ONE boat?

      Global flood?

      Virgin getting knocked up?

      Water to wine?

      Bit of bread and 2 fish feeding 5,000?

      Dead man coming back to life after 3 days?

      The Bible being divinely inspired though conveniently riddled with human prejudices?

      I don’t have to jump through hoops and constantly make excuses for my non-belief.

      Theists, however….

      Oh, and for good measure, Muslim beliefs are just as preposterous. The Quran says baby Jesus spoke from that there manger! HA!




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      • Unison says:

        Lol … no … you’re so wrong and illogically. I am between a Deist and Theistic Rationalist, so don’t bother with the Christian or Bible blurps …

        Logically, he atheistic or evolutionist view that everything started from NOTHING, takes alot more faith. You would really have to blind not to see that …

        If you see a house that must = someone built the house. Don’t tell me a big bang occurred and poof, you got a house! That’s just dumb!
        Everything we observe has a cause. Your evolutionary religion has no answers for this …

        Thus, I am afraid, it is utter nonsense, not based on scientific fact, wrongfully TAUGHT IN OUR SCHOOLS TO AVOID THE QUESTION OF GOD 😁

        CNS: I have to disagree with you again. Local schools should not and do not avoid the question of God. However, questions of God should be taught in religious education classes, they have no place in a science class. The study of evolution is the antithesis of religion.




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    • Charles Darwin says:

      You want physical proof of the age of these islands? Look at the carving on the base of the Brac’s bluff as it rose from the ocean over tens of thousands of years. Geography speaks more facts than fairytales.




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      • Unison says:

        So at least you admit its not exaggerated by millions or billions …

        You just don’t know do you 😂

        CNS: Unison, most of us don’t know about rock formation, erosion, etc, with any clarity because most of us don’t know that much about geology. I have to confess that my mind sort of numbs over when I read anything on the subject. But that doesn’t mean that no one knows. Scientists know. It’s what they do. If you are really interested, there is a book called “Islands from the Sea: Geologic Stories of Cayman” by Murray A. Roed, which I believe is still readily available. If you’re like me and geology send you to sleep, it’s really hard going, but I have friends who love all things science who rate it very highly.




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    • Anonymous says:

      “evolution has been observed. It’s just that it hasn’t been observed while it’s happening”

      How does a human, or even 10 generations of humans, observe a process that takes hundreds of thousands of years? Our genetic code, DNA, is subjected to small, random mutations through damage from sources such as carcinogens and radiation. One small mutation won’t do much. However, over a period of time, small mutations result in a different shade of fur.

      As a result, the animal is naturally selected as they can camouflage better in the snow with their white fur rather than the dark color fur. The white fur animals continue to pass on their genes, resulting in a new species, while the old species (dark fur) dies off. Remember, over 99% of species that have lived on Earth have died off due to being selected against. We also didn’t come directly from apes, but rather we share a common ancestor. Think of us on a branch, which is why monkeys are still here, but we’re on a different branch connected to the same tree root. This is VERY simple to comprehend.

      Natural selection is a very easy process to comprehend and we’ve already sequenced our entire genetic code and have technologies in development such as CRISPR-Cas9 that will allow us to edit our genetic code to remove genetic diseases from society.

      Please educate yourself on genetics if you wish to better understand evolution, Unison. I know it’s hard to cling to religion when the facts are in front of your face so you might refuse to do the research yourself and instead self-confirm your beliefs by simply saying, “it’s a load of bullsh%t”, no way that can be true.”




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      • Unison says:

        You accusing me of clinging to a religion to sidetrack the issue it seems. Can you once in your life, separate the clear scientific knowledge of DNA from a theory of mutations?  This is nothing hard, really, Anonymous. In other words, please give us an example of an evolutionary process or genetic mutation that can be seen to add new genetic information to a human genome ???

        Awaiting for your answer 🤔




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        • Charles Darwin says:

          The fact that you call the mutations a theory highlights your ignorance on the subject, unison. It’s not a theory. DNA is made up of a sequence consisting of T-A and C-G basepairs. Changes in the order through swapping, removing or adding = mutations. Like I said, damage through UV, carcinogens, radiation, and most importantly, errors in DNA replication result in mutations. DNA polymerases aren’t perfect machines and make errors when RNA is transcribed back into DNA.

          I’ve already given you your example, CRISPR-Cas9. Google it.

          Some well-known inherited genetic disorders include cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, Tay-Sachs disease, phenylketonuria and color-blindness, among many others. All of these disorders are caused by the mutation of a single gene.




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          • Unison says:

            I was referring to a “mutation theory” (not mutations itself) whereby it is believed by evolutionists that mutations can create new genetic information hence advancing major evolutionary processes.

            Again, please answered my question by showing us “empirical” evidence for this belief?




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        • Edjyakayted Caymanian says:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA_replication#DNA_polymerase

          Please have a read Unison.




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          • Unison says:

            But reading about DNA proofreading, should show to you how it is unlikely a genetic mutation can have its way in creating anything good – hence I don’t see the information sharing makes your evolutionary doctrine a solid fact.

            Could you explain?




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    • Anonymous says:

      Unison, as with most religious nutters, you miss the whole point. Where did your God come from? Assuming he exists, someone had to be there to make him, or maybe we just are where we are and have evolved over time. BTW, who do you think you are to lecture us on what we can do? This is why I hate people who profess to be religious…they feel so much more superior than the majority, but generally are the first one sticking knives in other peoples backs, ironically from the “survival of the fittest” that you profess to hate. The fact that you must have “faith” precludes you from any sensible argument as you will choose not to listen to facts or other proof.




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      • Unison says:

        I am not talking about the Christian religion – rather, the evolutionary one 😆👊

        But please lets hear more of the everything-evolved theory.

        CNS: OK. Evolution: It’s a Thing – Crash Course Biology #20. Christianity is a religion because there is no empirical evidence for its belief systems. There is so much empirical evidence for evolution that there is now no doubt about it except by people blinded by religion. By the way, many people who are devoutly religious also believe in evolution. It’s not an excuse.




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        • Anonymous says:

          Good on you CNS…Like I said, some people just will not listen…you can put an orange in front of them and they will tell you its and apple despite all evidence to the contrary.




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    • Cayman News says:

      Hi Unison, you might find this article interesting – I really hope it helps you rethink your position. 8 Examples of Evolution in Action




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      • Unison says:

        Nope … I can’t see it, CNS.

        Have human beings always been human beings?  I think the empirical evidence proves there is a difference between what is Evolution theory and what is Adaptation. The link you shared should be called, “8 Examples of Adaptation in Action.” Note in your link you don’t see proof of the butterfly changing to bird or a bird to a crab, etc … since evolution states it all came from one tree. Do animals adapt?  Of course they do?  Do they evolved like major  exagerrated changes?  Where is this in action?  And if we say, it takes a long time for this to happen. Then isn’t that making assumptions? 🤔

        CNS: I’m encouraged that you accept that species adapt. It’s a small step in the right direction. The examples given are species adapting over a teenie teenie tiny period of time, infinitesimal in the timeline of evolution. A fish doesn’t wake up one morning and decide to be a bird. That’s not how it works. It’s millions of “adaptions”, if that’s what you want to call them, over millions of years.




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        • Unison says:

          That’s precisely what I am saying, CNS. To me that’s making an assumption – that it took millions of years of adaptions.

          You have to look at it in the light that you have as well missing fossils unexplained, and the findings of genetics – how DNA proofreads itself and mutations only destroy existing information. Hence such things, I see challenge and weakens the evolution theory.

          Can it be answered by observation where the origin of DNA “information” came from? It’s described as a language isn’t it?
          🤔




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    • Al Catraz says:

      “the Sam Harris morality of survival of the fittest”

      You can choose to believe the earth is flat, that the sun goes around it, or that things will fall upwards when you drop them, if you want to.

      The facts of astronomy, gravity, or any other result of scientific observation do not prescribe any sort of “morality”.

      This sort of thinking is really amazing, given that we are all sitting on an island that is literally an accumulation of fossils that are readily visible.




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      • Unison says:

        But evolution can’t answer for morality and the validity of rational thinking. If I told you that you came from a chimp or evolved from a fish, what does that do to your rational powers? Is your mind evolving still??? So what happens with the issue of right and wrong?

        Do you see how the evolutionary THEORY do have a major influence on the morality of our children? 😐

        CNS: We all evolved from fish. If you told me that we evolved from a chimp, I’d know that you were just making stuff up because science tells us that we did not. Chimps and humans had a common ancestor about 7 million years ago but then we branched off on the evolutionary tree. My mind, sadly, is not evolving because individuals do not “evolve”, but hopefully the mental capacity of our species is. My sense of right and wrong and my morals are just fine, thanks, despite knowing that we evolved from amoeba.

        I’m not quite sure what the point is here. Rational thought, reason, logic – these things are the purview of scientists, including paleontologists.

        The word “theory” in scientific terms, does not mean the same as in “I have a theory that it was Colonel Mustard with a gun in the library”. Scientists use the word for an idea (or hypothesis) that has been thoroughly examined and tested. The theory of evolution has been examined and tested A LOT, and since Darwin first came up with it, lots and lots of new evidence has emerged, including the study of DNA, all of which supported the theory and continues to fill in the gaps.




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        • Unison says:

          The DNA code issue I can assure you, leaves a major unanswered question as to the nature of information …

          Yes, regarding the human mind, I meant like you said, the evolving “mental capacity of our species” which clearly what evolutionist’s teach 😐

          Just how can you say, “my sense of right and wrong and my morals are just fine, thanks, despite knowing that [you] evolved from amoeba”?  According to the theory, all living organisms are involved in the process of survival of the fittest, right? That means, if you have no other morality but an evolutionist / atheist morality, your behavior must stem from the same survival struggle. And hence there is no objective reason to prefer one behavior over another. Do you understand? It’s about I, me, and mine …

          All to say, the theory can mold, lets say, a student at one of our high schools to becoming a cold and indifferent person with no future hopes but to gratify sensual desires and see only death. Where will the established “right and wrong” you speak of, be for the building up of Cayman’s society, and your own soul as well? 😐

          *I think this is another minus I can’t help but see in promoting Evolutionist assumptions; especially, that its taught in schools, as pure scientific fact. Something does not add up on a moral level 😑

          CNS: Unison, I really think that you would benefit from reading a few books or watching that TV series I recommended as a basic primer because your arguments lack a fundamental understanding of the issue and cause you to just write nonsense. Here’s the link again. Survival of the fittest doesn’t mean that the biggest baddest have to pick on the weakest and smallest, it means that species develop traits that help the species survive. One of the behavioural traits that humans have developed is that we form groups that look after each other and defend the weak in that group. We create human bonds, we have empathy.




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          • Unison says:

            That is exactly what is observed in the animal kingdom – you do observe with your naked eyes, the biggest or baddest preying or picking on the weakest ones.

            What makes the actions of a herd looking after each other BETTER than the actions of the biggest or baddest looking out for themselves?

            Evolutionists or atheists have no “moral authority” to indicate what mode of survival is right and wrong. I am afraid, in real life situations, you provide no absolute standard, but your self and what is observe in the animal kingdom to determine whats right from wrong …

            And that means besides fear of Law or social consequences, as an individually or a group that endorse such teachings, ANYTHING GOES.

            God help us 😐

            CNS: OK, I’m confused. Let’s recap. The scientific evidence that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old and that humans evolved is so overwhelming it is considered scientific fact, except by people who don’t really believe in science. The argument against this vast mountain of evidence is your belief that atheists and people who believe in evolution (which appear to be synonymous in your mind) can’t possibly have any morals because nature is brutal. It’s all about the children.




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            • Unison says:

              So you have observed a human being evolving from a mammal or some sort of species? You have witness of this scientific fact?

              You even go as far as to say its overwhelming. Just like a Christian, you follow scientists like Christians follow ministers.

              Yes, the issue of morality is one out of many arguments against this theory. So it should be brought up because its being taught in schools. Note: There is a difference between science and scientism.

              I believe in factual science, but as far as I observe, there is NO EVIDENCE for macro-evolution. Small variations and adaptations does not prove major transformational changes. DNA dictates, a human may vary but will always be a human. And this goes for all species after their kind. This is the scientific reality.

              Peace 🙂✌

              CNS: Unison, you’re exhausting. If you’re determined to not understand, you never will.




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  3. Anonymous says:

    Well played Wayne Panton




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    • Anonymous says:

      We are now waiting on the conservation devastating play proposed by Wayne’s supposed to be “Friend” Alden.

      Alden, you should be ashamed how you threw Wayne under the bus and your insensitivity towards environmental matter.

      Alden stop listening only to your big developer friends.

      Shame, shame on you Alden.




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  4. Anonymous says:

    Thank you. I wish I had the land or money to donate to this cause.

    A Young Caymanian




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    • Anonymous says:

      It is great to see a “Young Caymanian” understanding the importance of this cause. There may be other ways to help with this, maybe contact the team at the National Trust and see if you can help out with any of the activities or get involved in other ways.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Most importantly lobby your MLA and the other MLAs, most of them have no feeling about protecting and preserving the environment.

        The road from North Side to George Town thru the wetland areas will be devastating to our environment and destroy any small gains made in the last 10 years.




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  5. Anonymous says:

    Good luck with that! This PPM government is hellbent on destroying the environment!

    #GreedIsASin




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    • Anonymous says:

      But if we all help just a little bit it won’t be left up to the Government, this is an opportunity to take this into our own hands and really make a difference. Every donation will help the cause, not everyone can afford thousands of dollars, but all the small amounts soon add up.




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    • Anonymous says:

      They are just giving in to the wishes of the Dart machine. As did the UDP.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Stop blaming Dart for the destruction of the natural habitat. The Caymanian people sold the land to the developers. They were not going to buy the land to build a nature reserve and the sellers knew that. The Caymanian MLAs have also sold out on the environmental law to encourage further development.




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        • Anonymous says:

          With certain developers calling on all parties to give them the return on political campaign “investments”, called “donations”, but really buying politicians, protecting and preserving our natural and cultural environment is next to impossible because most Caymanians are cowards and will not fight.




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          • Anonymous says:

            It wasn’t only donations! When they said the business community helped the Unity Government to come together they really meant “financed”. I hear some big dollars dropped just after this election.




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