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Bahamians Given Hand In Fight To Save Species

Queen conch

Queen conch

FOURTEEN Bahamian and eight Caribbean experts took part in a week of training in Nassau on how to assess threatened and endangered species, known as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List training.

The workshop focused on how Red Listing is done, and then went through the process of Red Listing Bahamian species.

The training took place in the week of November 12 at the Bahamas National Trust’s Retreat Garden and included Bahamians from government and non-governmental organisations including staff from BNT, Island Conservation, the Forestry Unit, the Department of Marine Resources and the Bahamas Environment Science and Technology Commission. Also attending were botanists from Cuba, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Barbados and Florida. The group.

“The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is the world’s leading authority on the conservation status of all species and is an important tool in assessing a country’s biodiversity status and conservation priorities,” the BNT said.

“The Bahamas sits on the edge of the what is known as the Caribbean Biodiversity Hotspot, named for the high concentration of different species many of which are found nowhere else in the world; also referred to as endemic.

“Many of these unique species are not listed on the Red List at all; whether threatened or not. This can be problematic for acquiring funding for projects and research for these species as much funding is aimed at species listed as threatened or even data deficient by the IUCN.

“Many species found in The Bahamas that have no assessment mostly include plants, many invertebrates like butterflies and snails, many reptiles (which is improving), freshwater fishes and even the iconic Queen Conch.

“The BNT and the LLNPP acknowledged a serious deficiency on the Bahamian plants that were globally listed as threatened or endangered and made it a priority for the next five years to get most species assessed under the Red List. This will put The Bahamas on track for meeting international obligations under the (United Nations) Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Sustainability Development Goals (SDG).”

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