Nature Alliance responds to impact of COVID-19 virus on protected areas

    Nature Alliance responds to impact of COVID-19 virus on protected areas

A protected green sea turtle in St. Eustatius Marine Park. (Brenda Kirkby photo) 

PHILIPSBURG--The Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) is taking measures to ensure the continuity of conservation and park management in the Dutch Caribbean amidst the international health crisis caused by the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

“As the world is hunkering down to stop the spread of the pandemic we are already anticipating a significant financial strain on non-governmental organisations that are tasked with protected area and conservation management on all six islands of the Dutch Caribbean. This will be an additional challenge for organisations that protect vital protected areas and species with very little resources,” said DCNA interim-director Tadzio Bervoets.

“Considering this we are already exploring ways in which we can ensure the continuity in terms of capacity support for the protected area management organisations in Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, St. Eustatius, Saba and St. Maarten.

“As parks see a drop in visitors and as governments tighten their belts amidst the current and forecast economic slowdown, we must ensure that our crucial natural resources and their associated goods and services are maintained and managed and adequate environmental protection is put in place.”

Additionally, as millions of people remain at home while in quarantine, DCNA said it will be increasing its online presence in highlighting the unique species and natural areas that make the Dutch Caribbean the biodiversity hotspot in the Kingdom.

“Using our online presence, we will be highlighting the species and areas which make the Dutch Caribbean one of the most biodiverse areas on earth. We will also be showcasing the work the protected area organisations FPNA in Aruba, STINAPA in Bonaire, CARMABI in Curaçao, the Saba Conservation Foundation in Saba, STENAPA in St. Eustatius and the Nature Foundation in St. Maarten are doing in order to conserve our critical natural resources.

“In these unusual times it is important that we recognise the important role our nature plays in ensuring national well-being and economic resiliency. We therefore ask the population to follow DCNA on Facebook and DCNANature on Instagram for updates and highlights of nature conservation in the Dutch Caribbean,” concluded Bervoets.

The DCNA board and staff are urging everyone to maintain social distancing and self-quarantining protocols, to follow the official instructions and recommendations, and to practise sound hygiene protocols.

“If persons are allowed to venture out for a walk they are urged to do so in nature responsibly, acknowledging that spending time in nature is beneficial for health and well-being,” the nature organisation stated.