New Domestic Licencing System launched to curtail abuse on wildlife use

Government is taking steps to curtail the abuse of wildlife locally with the introduction of a Domestic Licencing System (DLS). The DLS is a management system aimed at preserving wildlife through effective monitoring for commercial and non-commercial uses.

Under the new system, persons involved in the use of wildlife must be licenced in six categories; wildlife trapping, wildlife collection, commercial, recreational, captive wildlife and special wildlife licences.

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira

The new system was launched on June 1 by the Guyana Wildlife Conservation and Management Commission (GWCMC), as part of its fifth anniversary celebration. Speaking at the launch, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Governance, Gail Teixeira MP lauded the initiative, noting that Guyana has come a long way in the protection of its wildlife.

Guyana has managed to monitor the exportation of wildlife internationally for many years; however, this is the first attempt to do it locally.

Minister Teixeira lamented the corrupt practices within the wildlife industry and called for similar penalties as that of narco and human trafficking. Under the DLS, perpetrators could be fined a maximum of $1 million for any violation within the wildlife industry.

“We must become more regulated in terms of the way we do business in Guyana. This is part of the rule of law, this is part of governance of our society, and we have to learn that this is how life goes, and this is what you need to do in order to carry out certain activities.

So, from a principled point of view, I think we have to do that and to make sure that we are constantly monitoring and looking at how it is evolving, and convince the people using the powers of persuasion before you do the enforcement.”

Recognising the importance for public support in the preservation of the country’s wildlife, Minister Teixeira acknowledged that the success of the DLS is dependent on a public/private partnership, and called for greater public awareness.

Commissioner, GWCMC- Alona Sankar

“If we do not preserve and protect and learn to have some kind of sustainable use of our resources, we could be facing a serious crisis… so we have to teach in simplified ways to our people and therefore the awareness programmes and the PR programmes are important.”

As part of the PPP/C’s long-term strategy for biodiversity and socio-economic sustainability, Minister Teixeira highlighted that the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) 2030 outlines protection of wildlife.

“The Low Carbon Development Strategy offers an opportunity for the Wildlife Conservation and Management Commission—a greater level of prominence because it is an important component of what we’re talking about…it positions you as a commission in a different way than before… I believe the opportunities are here. And it is how creative and innovative we can be in order to use the Low Carbon Development Strategy, and the opportunities it offers to be able to fit the wildlife and conservation management commission into that strategy—into that programme.”

Meanwhile, Commissioner of GWCMC Alona Sankar said effective monitoring of wildlife in Guyana has posed a number of challenges. Sankar believes that the Domestic Licencing System will give the commission a better understanding of how wildlife is affected and the interventions needed.

“When we have that information, we can make informed decisions about the management of the species. It will help us also to set harvest quotas. We can say this is the level of offtake per year, and it would not impact our populations and we can also then look at the information we collect to determine harvest zones,” Sankar stated.

Persons are being encouraged to uplift applications from the commission’s office located in the compound of the Environmental Protection Agency. Applications will be opened online soon.

The GWCMC is responsible for the regulation of hunting, trapping, trading, trade, protection, conservation, management and sustainable use of wildlife, harvesting, and transporting wildlife under the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act of 2016.