Animal Welfare

BAHAMAS CONSERVATION EXPERT ALERT

– Prof Diana Bell, University of East Anglia

Prof Diana Bell, professor of Conservation Biology at the University of East Anglia, said: “The tragic impact of Hurricane Dorian as it moved so slowly across the Abacos and Grand Bahama Islands is beginning to emerge.

“It is obviously a humanitarian disaster for people living in these northern islands and the extent is as yet unknown, but we hope that international medical and infrastructure aid will arrive rapidly and generously.

“It is also highly likely to have also been an ecological disaster affecting the already fragmented areas of Caribbean pine forest which support birds and other wildlife which are not found anywhere else on the planet.

“In 2018, UEA researchers Matthew Gardner and David Pereira undertook extensive surveys of the area and found just one Bahama nuthatch, so it seems highly likely that this species has now been lost.

“We now have to ask whether birds such as the Bahama warbler and other native pine forest dependent species have survived the extremely high winds, rainfall and storm surges this hurricane has caused.

“Our thoughts are with the people and biodiversity in this tragedy.”