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Aug 06 2014

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The White-breasted Thrasher or a golf course

The White-breasted Thrasher (Ramphocinclus brachyurus) is endemic to the coastal dry forests of St. Lucia, and is currently restricted in its range to two areas along the eastern coast. Recent population estimates from researchers working on this species put the global population around 1,500 birds. Based on recent surveys, it is believed nearly three-fourths of the species population is restricted to the southerly range between the towns of Dennery and Praslin. This is the same area where a large tourism development is being proposed. In a story that has been repeated on multiple occasions throughout the Caribbean, a highly imperiled bird species now faces a grim future with the potential advancement of a tourism development.



The Le Paradis property, which is owned by the DCG development group, is proposed to have condominiums, private residences, a central plaza and a golf course. Development of this project actually began over four years ago, when large swaths of dry forest were cleared for the proposed golf course. Due to the economic crisis in 2008 the project was halted, however, with the recent turnaround of the global economy new investors and looking at the property for possible purchase and development. While DCG has interest in ensuring part of the property is kept in reserve, any new investor may have different ideas. While the possibility individuals could survive in small populations in the northern range, the southern range is the stronghold for this species existence; and conserving the southern population is the key to this species survival. Efforts to engage stakeholders; local people, the Department of Forestry, possible developers, tourism boards, conservation organizations, etc, and create and implement a Conservation Action Plan are needed immediately. American Bird Conservancy is working with Durrell and the Dept. of Forestry and others to begin this process. (Text La Tangara 2013)


Meanwhile a study has been conducted by Rachel White. She researched what conservation measures can be taken. Download the report
here

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