Crab Poachers Cause Deaths of Rare Birds: Intruders Caught On Tape at Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary

Early this week intruders were caught on tape after killing crabs and terrorizing rare bird species at Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary, causing the death of another bird inside one of the Aviaries.

One of the three surviving spoonbill chicks in the Marshland Aviary died after breaking its neck while evading the trespassers. The circumstances of death were similar to another incident when an endangered St. Vincent parrot died in March due to an intruder who had assaulted the bird in the middle of the night.

Electronic cameras at the Sanctuary revealed a group of six people on Sunday night and more on Monday night carrying bags of crabs fleeing over the main gate. There was evidence of large-scale poaching, with dismembered crabs scattered where the poachers had been.

The illegal poaching combined with the terrorizing of rare bird species at the Sanctuary have caused severe stress in the remaining bird population which is part of a formal captive breeding programme in partnership with the St. Vincent Government.

The Sanctuary and the surrounding Graeme Hall area is recognized as an international wetland of critical importance and a RAMSAR site under the Convention on Wetlands treaty.

No arrests have been made as of today. The incidents and the security video tapes are being investigated.