Council aims to protect wild places

Booby Pond in Little Cayman is one of the areas protected under the National Conservation Law. – PHOTO: JAMES WHITTAKER

The National Conservation Council is seeking proposals from the public for land to conserve for environmental purposes.

Part of the council’s remit, since the passage of the National Conservation Law, is to create the islands’ first protected areas – environmentally or ecologically important land that is shielded from development and other impacts.

The council has already announced plans to protect several areas, including parts of Barkers and the Central Mangrove Wetlands in Grand Cayman and Booby Pond in Little Cayman.

Protected areas can only be created on Crown-owned land – land that is willingly sold to government as part of the process or through an agreed management plan with the landowner.

Every year the council accepts suggestions from the public for land to protect.

Fred Burton, who runs the Department of Environment’s terrestrial resources department, said it was important that residents of the Cayman Islands were involved in the process.

“This is not just about protecting wildlife, it is also about protecting these areas for people.

“We are very interested in the idea that these will be places people can visit.”

The nomination period opened on June 15 and closes on Sept. 15. Mr. Burton said the council was keen, as Cayman grows, to help preserve the natural environment.

“The island is developing extremely rapidly and the population is growing apace.

“If we don’t do anything about it, we will be looking at a situation where a large part of the island is just sub-divisions, roads and all those human-use areas, and we won’t have anywhere wild to go,” Mr. Burton said.

“If we want to hang on to our natural heritage and have places where you can go and see Cayman parrots, for example, we need these type of areas. Think about the importance of Central Park to the people of New York City. What if nobody had thought ahead of time to set that aside as a natural area?”

To make a nomination to the council, email [email protected]

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