Wildlife survey suggests quenk numbers low

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Wildlife biologist and lecturer in ecology at the University of the West Indies Dr Luke Rostant has said, from the results of a national wildlife survey, he believes special attention should be paid to the pecari tajacu – otherwise known as quenk – as numbers of the species in monitored areas are noticeably low.

Rostant was speaking at a virtual presentation of the survey hosted by the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) on Thursday.

The country-wide survey and census from 2014-2018 was the first national study to focus on five species of game: deer, agouti, lappe, tatou and the quenk. The study formed part of the Nariva Swamp Restoration, Carbon Sequestration and Livelihoods Project launched by the EMA in 2010.

During this period, 1,698 specimens of the targeted game species were captured using a camera-trapping method of monitoring.

Areas surveyed included Blanchisseuse, Chaguaramas, Matura, Nariva and the Main Ridge Forest Reserve in Tobago.

The results suggest some of the species may be in danger and Rostant believes similar surveys should be continued regularly.

“We have enough (data) to say that we want to pay attention to the pecari, but other species are looking reasonably ok,” he said.

He added that the agouti was the most spotted species.

“Agouti have high reproductive rates and tend to recover quite quickly if we give them a chance.”

He said, “We would like to continue dedicated monitoring so we can track and see how these different species are doing.

“It may be that we have (hunting) restrictions in certain areas, but allow it in others. But this has hopefully been the start of something where we could have more targeted approaches to more sustainable hunting.”

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