BVI News

BVI gets UK grant to assess COVID’s impact on protected species

The Anegada iguana (Photo provided)

The BVI has been given a grant through the UK government’s Darwin Initiative that will allow the territory to investigate the impacts and consequences of COVID-19 on conservation efforts here.

The investigation will be done by the National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands in partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew’s UK Overseas Territories team, and Fort Worth Zoo (Texas, United States).

The investigation will assess the impact of COVID-19 on biodiversity between January 1 and March 31, 2021.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Natural Resources, this project will provide a better understanding of the nature and extent of the impacts of the pandemic to inform the development of measures to recover and adapt to new ways of operating. 

The statement further indicated that measures introduced to limit the transmission of COVID-19 have disrupted conservation work such as the monitoring of threatened species and habitats and the management of ex-situ collections.

Extent of study

The investigation will consist of field visits on four islands (Anegada, Fallen Jerusalem, Tortola, Virgin Gorda). It will also involve surveying collections removed from two islands (Anegada, Tortola), and desk-based analyses of those data collected.

The surveys will focus on observations and assessments of five tree species and two animal species and include observations and assessments of other rare, endemic and threatened plant and animal species.

Scientists will also record new threats (invasive species) observed in the environment. 

Director of the National Parks Trust, Dr Cassander Titley-O’Neal said “while we humans were forced to stay indoors during the COVID-19 pandemic, nature had an opportunity to heal and replenish. There was less pressure on the environment where endemic species thrive which gave these habits time to recoup”. 

The government said the results of the study will help to minimise negative and maximise positive outcomes for the territory’s unique biodiversity in the face of future disturbances.


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  1. Resident says:

    Thank you UK for more help; having a handle on the Territory’s nature should help us preserve it. That will enhance the scope for upmarket tourism after Covid, especially if we in fact don’t end up being an agricultural powerhouse, or medicinal cannabis doesn’t take off (which it won’t, even if the right legislation gets passed, as there is far too much competition from places with an educated work force for the processing, and enough rain). We are very lucky to be a Territory of the UK.

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  2. ANY BETS? says:


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  3. UK Aid? says:

    What hellis happening here? UK giving us support? Disgraceful. The colonial overlords muct have a secret agenda, they can’t possibly just want us to succeed through a beautiful, local, biodiverse environment…Oppressors

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  4. WEW says:

    Protected species ? BELONGERS ?

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  5. SMH says:

    Humans need Food and Financial Assistance to Survive. Sorry, but the sustainability of Wildlife and Botanical Species needs to take a back seat in the effort of aiding in Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestocks within Our Territory.

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  6. Please says:

    The UK trying to make us feel as if they care about us when really they only care about themselves.

  7. Hold on says:

    People in BVI suffering from Irma to Covid and this is what the uk funding? Give me a break.

  8. lol says:

    y’all really grudging iguanas…no surprise the locals.cant stand to see someone treat an animal a little better than crap.Yes I love animal more than your pathetic life..go get one.

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