Government is planning to establish new national parks across the territory; including a land and marine park in Anegada.
Minister of Natural Resources Vincent Wheatley made the announcement in a recent public forum on social media.
He said the establishment of these national parks across the BVI will facilitate the protection of many endangered indigenous animal and plant species; along with generating additional revenue for the territory.
“Anegada has one of the world’s largest collection of wrecks and we think it must be protected from piracy and so forth. So by declaring it a marine national park, we’ll make sure that those wrecks remain there for the next 100, 200, 300 years. That is the proposal that’s currently on the books to come through. That can come through any day now,” he stated.
“The thing about having a marine park in Anegada; [it] would be a great revenue generator for the island of Anegada once it is properly protected [and] advertised. Persons would be happy to go out there and dive and the revenue raised can go to the Anegada community,” the minister added.
Other areas for parks
Wheatley said additional areas to be listed as national parks include Beef Island, as well as Belmont and Smugglers Cove.
He said six to seven other areas are to become \ national parks.
“We want to make national parks but you know national parks do require funding for upkeep, so until the funding is readily available, it will be a bit of a challenge to actually get all of those things done in a very timely manner,” the minister explained.
Anegada Rock Iguana unique
Meanwhile, Director of the National Parks Trust, Dr Cassander Titley-O’Neal highlighted the significance of Anegada to her organisation.
She said apart from the flamingos, there exist many other endangered species such as the Anegada Rock Iguana on the sister island.
“You have the Anegada Rock Iguana (Cyclura pinguis) which has now been upgraded on the IUCN website as a critically endangered specie and we have two part-time persons over there right now and they feed those iguanas,” she stated.
“The reason why we have that headstart facility is because of invasive animals such as dogs and cats. They eat the youngsters. So what they do is they feed them then they go and collect the small juvenile ones and we have them in a headstart facility where we feed them on lettuce, carrots, grapes and a whole flow of other things, and once they reach a certain size, then we release them back into the environment,” she explained.
Dr cTitley-O’Neal further said Anegada is the only place where the aforementioned species of iguana can be found roaming freely.
The sister island also has a high number of flora and fauna which is linked to the non-volcanic makeup of the island.
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