22 The Dy News. Friday. May 8,199l
Visit the sanctuaries in Trinidad and
Last week's column focused on
the many natural wonders Trinidad
and Tobago have to offer in terms
This week, I will focus on my
trip to Pointe-a-Pierre Wildlife
Trust, a wildlife sanctuary not too
far famn the second largest city
Tdndadn. San Fenando. But before
I tell you about the Wild Fowl
Trust, and I will mention other
sanctuaries in the islands.
There are 13 official wildlife
sanctuaries in Trinidad and Tobago,
ranging from the Grafton Caledoola
Wildlife Sanctuary, the Adventure
Farm and Nature Reserve, the
Emperor Valley Zoo in Port-of-
Spain, the Arip Savannahs. The
Islands of Little Tobago and St.
Oiles are important seabird sanctu-
One particular sanctuary that is
not too far from Port-of-Spain,
where I stayed at Holiday Inn
Hotel, is the Caronl Swamp Sanctu-
ary. If you ever visit Trinidad make
sure you tour the Caroni Swamp
with Winston Nanan. Nanan's
father took him out of school and
sent him to the swamp when be was
1I years old.
Today Naoan is an ornithologist
and wildlife photographer, a pio-
never of eco-tourism in Trinidad and
one of the world's leading authori-
ties on wetland habitats. Before
eco-tourism was a common term.
Nanan's life centered around the
The best time to visit the Cmoni
Swamp is late in the afternoon.
Believe me, you will be rewarded
with the magic of the natural world.
The boat leaves just before sun-
set tern the waterway orange. The
boat goes through magical forms-
tions and reflections of the man-
grove roots and shoots crowded on
-both sides. Large blue herons stand
motionless among the mangrove
foliage, probably wanting to know
what we humans are doing there.
Beyond the swamp banks, you will
see the red mangroves, particularly
the roots, hanging from branches to
the water beneath the boat.
Here, you might see large and
small insects of different kinds;
frogs waiting for their dinner; and
even a boa constrictor hanging out
over the water on slender branch.
Your boat emerges from these
faintly claustrophobic channels into
a large lagoon dotted with islands
of mangrove. You will see different
wading birds, but the highlight I
think is the scarlet ibis, a red bird.
with thousands flying against the
If you save your own little
back yard, then you start
to save the world.
-rnlogi wldlfl photorap"er
"If you save your own little back
yard, then you start to save the
world," Na said.
Now let us focus on Polnte-a-
Pierre Wildfowl trust, a non-profit
organization founded in 1966.
I spent over three hours at this
sanctuary walking the trails and
watching the hundreds of different
kinds of birds in the air, trees and
lakes. Of all birds, waterfowl, with
their bright or bold patterns, are
among the most fascinating and
spctaular birds to observe.
Some species dive as deep as
103 feet, or climb to a height of
20.000 feet during migration. From
an economic standpoint, these col-
orful birds are the most valuable of
all birds in the wild. Unfortunately.
they are the most exploited with
some species in danger of extinc-
The Wild Fowl Trust in Trinidad
provides a safe refuge for some of
these birds. The refuge Is on 26
hectares, with two lakes within a
large petrochemical complex. This
setting creates a unique situation by
providing an example of industry
and conservation working side by
side. The Trust is actively involved
in the research and breeding of
endangered species of waterfowl
and other native birds for release
and reitroducion into the wild.
The Trust has an environmental
educational audio-visual program,
which is takca to schools through-
out Trinidad and Tobago. The Trust
itself is a wetland habitat where
thousands of people visit rare apd
endangered species birds. Also, it is
a environmental educational center
for youth groups, scouts and gov.
ernment ministries, providing out-
of-classroom training and research
At the Trust, there is also an
Amerindian museum and an infor.
nation center on all kinds of living
organisms and their habitats. The
Trust also offers programs for the
disabled and on hand programs for
prec-schoolers. Seminars and teacher
workshops are also held.
During my visit at the sanctuary,
I said to myself, "it would be great
if both Hess Oil Refinery and St.
Croix Alumina would create a sane-
tuary by restoring the remaining
mangrove swamp of the Krause
Lagoon, which was destroyed in the
To me, this would be good coop-
erative citizenship with the people
of the Virgin Islands and the envi-
ronment. The Wildlife Trust in
Trinidad is an excellent example of
where a wildlife sanctuary is locat-
ed within a major r nery complex.
This artckle reflects the views of
OUasee Davis, a SL Croix ecoloist
activist and writer who has a mas-
aer ofscience degree In range man-
agement and foresay ecology.