The COVID19 pandemic caused a decline in activities and the revenue generated by the Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT), a non-governmental organisation which protects Saint Lucia’s heritage through, among others actions, the management of protected areas and conservation of wildlife.
The SLNT’s biosecurity monitoring for Maria, Praslin, Dennery and Rat lslands for instance was suspended due to COVID-19. These protected offshore islands are all home to several of Saint Lucia’s endemic species and require sustained biosecurity assessments and monitoring for effective conservation. Wildlife surveys on the islands were also scheduled to be conducted during 2020 but has been delayed owing to unavailability of funding due to COVID-19. Failure to conduct regular biosecurity monitoring can result in irreversible loss of species and the reversal of achievements under previous initiatives.
Having acknowledged that conservation agencies throughout the globe would face this predicament, in June 2020, Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) programme issued a call for proposals for a Rapid Response Grant (RRG) aimed at increasing the resilience of protected areas and local communities’ livelihoods facing the risks and difficulties of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The SLNT submitted a proposal and has been awarded a grant. This RRG will improve the SLNT’s monitoring and management capacity to continue key conservation initiatives during this period of economic downturn.
More specifically, this grant will enable the engagement of human resource and technological assistance including a drone for natural resource and biodiversity monitoring as well as early detection and prevention of illegal activities within PSEPA. The funds will be used to undertake wildlife surveys and regular offshore island monitoring and assessments as prescribed by the biosecurity protocols to reduce threats and loss of the endangered endemic species sustained by the islands. Training of staff to conduct surveillance and assessments with the aid of technology will also be conducted.
Our biodiversity and environment are irreplaceable. Let’s save them.
Overall Objective: Enhanced management and governance of protected or conserved areas.
Outcome: Enhanced capacity to manage and monitor PSEPA and PINL to sustain biodiversity conservation initiatives and reduce illegal activities within both protected areas.
Output 1: Increased surveillance of targeted areas within the PSEPA to address illegal activities and species conservation;
Output 2: Improved species monitoring programmes;
Output 3: Improved monitoring and management of Pigeon Island National Landmark in accordance with COVID-19 response protocols.
Activity 1.1: Recruitment of rangers for PSEPA;
Activity 1.2: Surveillance of key resources within the PSEPA;
Activity 1.3: Procurement of equipment and supporting hardware and software for use in monitoring of targeted areas within PSEPA;
Activity 1.4: Conduct training of surveillance personnel in the use of monitoring equipment;
Activity 1.5: Recruitment of Conservation Officer to assist with the management of Maria Island Interpretation Centre from which the PSEPA programmes are managed;
Activity 2.1: Conduct offshore islands monitoring;
Activity 2.2: Undertake wildlife survey;
Activity 2.3: Purchase of equipment for turtle monitoring;
Activity 2.4: Conduct turtle monitoring training;
Activity 2.5: Undertake turtle monitoring;
Activity 3.1: Purchase of two-way radio for communication between monitoring and security personnel;
Activity 3.2: Purchase of supplies to reduce the spread of COVID-19.