NCC aims to save endemic flower from extinction

| 14/06/2019 | 8 Comments
Cayman News Service
Grand Cayman False Foxglove (Agalinis kingsii), photo by Maribeth Latvis

(CNS): The National Conservation Council has issued an interim directive to protect the critically endangered Grand Cayman False Foxglove (Agalinis kingsii) ahead of a conservation plan for the endemic flower on the brink of extinction and now threatened by development. The Department of Environment said this small flower is “a habitat specialist with an extremely restricted distribution.” Already on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species and a protected species under the local National Conservation Law, it is found only in two places on Grand Cayman, the National Trust’s Salina Reserve and on private land in Frank Sound.

The DoE said that a development proposal for the private land has created an urgent need to seek long-term protective measures for this uniquely Caymanian species.

The NCC informed Cabinet that it had approved an interim directive for the flower’s protection until the adoption of a conservation plan that the experts are now shaping. The key to the plant’s survival is preserving its unique habitat, which includes Cladium jamaicense, or cutting grass, and a particular species of ant that disperses the flower’s seeds.

In a document outlining the situation surrounding the False Foxglove, DoE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie advised the council that the “impending loss of a significant portion of the entire global population of a species due to proposed development constitutes an urgent threat”, and justified the interim directive, which will offer protection of the flower and the relevant habitat from the immediate development threat.

While this will ensure the plant’s protection in the short term, as part of the ongoing action to protect the habitat, falling in block 59A, parcel 92, government will be seeking to purchase the land. Valuations of the property are therefore urgently needed. The NCC is proposing to use money from the Environmental Protection Fund to acquire independent valuations of the relevant plot.

The process for taking the emergency steps to protect this unique flower is expected to be addressed at the NCC meeting next Wednesday. The meeting will take place at the government admin building at 2pm and is open to the public as observers.

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Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (8)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    By having Dart organization representatives on the conservation board is great for our environment because they have led the way in preserving our natural trees and plants. This again shows how our Unity government has once again done what is best for our island. If all you trouble makers would leave our leaders alone we will be a powerhouse country with a robust economy.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Have you been smoking some of that grass? What does the Dart organization have to do with this story or the National Conservation Council? And this Government has a less than stellar attitude towards the environment and is not responsible for any action described in the article.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    I wish more of the plant was shown- the leaves or the entire plant. There is a vine growing in my neighborhood with lavender and white flowers thst look similar.

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