Wildlife Commission warns of hefty fines, jail time for illegal hunting
The jaguar that was recently captured at Lima Sands, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam)…calls on public to respect wildlife, territoryThe Guyana Wildlife Conservation Management Commission (GWCMC) is urging members of the public and more specifically miners and those that encroach on the habitat of wildlife species to have respect for their territory.The Wildlife Commission on Tuesday noted the importance of these wildlife species to the country’s ecosystem and highlighted the important role they play in Guyana being an eco-tourism destination.The Commission made calls for those persons coming into contact with these species to ensure it is done in keeping with regulations governing our wild animals.The Commission in collaboration with Assistant Professor of the University of Texas, Dr Anthony Cummings, hosted a sensitisation session for media operatives on Tuesday at the Environmental Protection Agency, discussing the “Human-Wildlife conflict”.Legal officer and Attorney-at-Law Samuel Glasgow of the GWCMC during the sensitisation session, cautioned persons of the penalties for illegal hunting and capturing of these wildlife species. He stressed the need for the public to realise that these creatures play an important role in our ecosystem and we continuously encroach on their habitat. “These species have a right to life. They have a right to live in their habitat and the GWCMC and Government found it important to put laws in place for the protection, the proper conservation and management of these wildlife species,” he said. Further, Glasgow pointed out that the Commission has a monitoring committee working to sensitise the public on how to treat the wildlife species.Glasgow highlighted that there is a hefty fine and jail time attached to the reckless hunting and any type of unlawful interaction with these species, starting from $75000.He pointed out that although there is no definitive figure available for reports received by the Commission in this regard, there are daily reports of interaction of either these wild cats wandering out of their habitat in search of food or those of persons encroaching into their territory.Meanwhile, the Commission’s Communications Officer, Deuel Hughes, encouraged persons to “think like a jaguar” as this is necessary in order to coexist with them.He urged the public to take into consideration the habitat of these wild cats and other endangered or protected species and be cautious when interacting or entering into their territory. As such, they are being encouraged to secure livestock and cattle to avoid them being hunted by these species. “The mentality of jaguars is to hunt and once food is easily available to them they are going to go after that source of food,” he said.Only recently, the capturing of a jaguar at Lima Sands in Essequibo, Region Two (Pomeroon-Supenaam), created much controversy, after the animal was trapped and a fee was being charged to persons who wanted to view the animal.In light of that incident, the Wildlife Commission reminded that persons who violate Section 69 of the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, which speaks to the protection of these animals, are liable to pay a fine and up to three years’ imprisonment time.