By Desmond Brown
CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Aug 7 2018 (IPS)
The Caribbean island nation of Saint Lucia is home to more than 2,000 native species — of which nearly 200 species occur nowhere else in the world. Though less than 616 square kilometres in area, the island is exceptionally rich in animals and plants.
Saint Lucia’s best-known species, the endangered Amazon parrot, is recognised by its bright green plumage, purple forehead and dusty red-tipped feathers.
But a major conservation organisation warns that climate change and a lack of care for the environment could have devastating consequences for Saint Lucia’s healthy ecosystems and rich biodiversity.
Sean Southey chairs the Commission on Education and Communication (CEC) of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
He told IPS that urgent action is needed to safeguard the eastern Caribbean island nation’s biodiversity, which is under constant threat.
Other species of conservation concern include the pencil cedar, staghorn coral and St. Lucia racer. The racer, confined to the nine-hectare island of Maria Major, is thought to be the world’s most threatened sake. Also at risk are mangrove forests and low-lying freshwater wetlands, Southey said.
But he said it was not too late to take action. He urged St. Lucia and its Caribbean neighbours to take advantage of their small size.