DoE works with UK scientists on local biodiversity

| 21/06/2023 | 9 Comments
Cayman blue-throated anole (Photo by Thijs van den Burg), Cayman News Service
Cayman blue-throated anole (Photo by Thijs van den Burg)

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Department of Environment (DoE) will be leading a biodiversity strategy workshop this week in partnership with the UK’s Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) “to develop a unifying vision and strategic priorities for biodiversity in the UK Overseas Territories, including the Cayman Islands” according to a joint press release from the DoE and the JNCC.

Well over a dozen local public, private and non-profit stakeholders and organisations are expected to take part. As well as aiming for the stated goals for the UKOTs generally, the week also provides the opportunity to identify the help Cayman might need and to access additional grants from Britain.

The UK government has a significant interest in protecting the natural environment of its territories, given how much of Britain’s own natural resources have been lost. Almost half of its biodiversity has disappeared since the 1970s, largely through commercial farming and construction. The Natural History Museum has stated that more than 41% of species in the UK have declined.

Many of the UKOTs are bio-diversity hotspots, and given the pressures on natural habitats everywhere, protecting species in the territories is a priority for the UK now. This has led to plans for a biodiversity strategy to protect and restore the natural environment in all of the territories, which include a vast diversity of habitats, from polar tundra to rainforest.

DoE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie said the JNCC, a public body that advises the UK Government and devolved administrations on nature conservation, has a long history of supporting biodiversity action and coordinating opportunities for conservation across the territories.

“This workshop comes at an opportune time, following the introduction of natural capital accounting to the Cayman Islands,” she said. “It coincides with efforts to develop a national Climate Change Policy and an increased call from the local community to safeguard the ecosystem services our unique species and habitats have provided to our people for centuries.”

Ebanks-Petrie explained that bringing together stakeholders will help develop a unifying vision and strategic priorities for biodiversity. “This will support our national conservation goals and identify funding gaps that can be filled by Darwin Plus grant schemes.”

During their visit, the UK team, which includes a representative from the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), which manages the Darwin Plus fund, will be visiting a number of the local projects benefiting from the funding.

These include Blue Iguana Conservation, the DoE’s sea turtle programme, which is assessing the likely effects of climate change on Cayman’s wild sea turtles, and a Darwin Plus Local grant to local naturalist Christine Rose-Smyth, who is working to preserve endangered endemic orchids.

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Category: Land Habitat, Science & Nature

Comments (9)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Ms. GIna and Ms. Christine Rose-Smith, think you could help get a ban on future destruction of the mangroves and the bulldozing of the wild orchid habitats? No. More dredging.! If anyone bought swamp land for development 50% ot It should be given over to the national trust.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Where I live in Frank sound there used to be a lot of wasps with their nest in the trees and around the house. Now there is none. I just wonder what happen to all of them or if anyone else cares?

  3. Anonymous says:

    They should invite the planning board and the government ministers.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Electric vehicles for Little Cayman and/or speed governors on all others. Slow down!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Please, please, please focus on Little. Get rid of the cats, control and eradicate the greens and slow down the traffic. This is where you can get the most bang for your buck. The crown jewel of the Caribbean. Good luck!!!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Until they eradicate the chickens and feral cats, this is a waste of time and resources

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, and before eradication, there need to be strict rules on cat and chicken ownership enforced. Otherwise it’s pointless. Bring on mandatory neuter policies and breeding licences!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hope the workshop includes a topic on preserving the endangered generational Caymanian!

    • Anonymous says:

      Any human on this island is an invasive species. There was nothing here but sea birds and turtles 500 years ago.


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