By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Staff Reporter
INAGUA’s wild donkey population has dwindled considerably, according to BNT officials, who pointed to anecdotal evidence of widespread hunting.
The Bahamas National Trust has recommended that the non-native species are protected as part of Inagua’s cultural heritage, and their role in the island’s nature-based tourism model.
Director Eric Carey said the matter was raised to the BNT by their local warden, and again at a local government council meeting several months ago.
At the time, Minister of Environment Kenred Dorsett said he would address the issue after public consultation with the community.
“The donkeys are becoming rare,” he said. “It’s an interesting concept, the perspective we have to put on this, because donkeys are not native, but they have been here for hundreds of years and have become a part of Inagua and its charm. As a non native species, so far donkeys have not proven to be harmful to the habitat of Inagua and have become something that is promoted as a part of eco-tourism.
“But this has started to change because people have been shooting them in large numbers,” he said.
“As an organisation,” said Mr Carey, “we are certainly determined that the donkeys are in very few numbers. We have sent photographers to the island to document wildlife, and there was a team going to do a photo-documentary specifically on the donkeys. They spent three and a half days there and saw no donkeys during the first two days, and only a few on the third day.”