Smugglers penalised for wildlife trafficking
Wildlife trafficking is defined as the illegal trade of wild species of animals and plants. It has negative impacts on the populations of targeted species, ecosystem functions, and the economy. In Guyana, song birds are a frequent target for intended smugglers. Recently, a number of persons were caught attempting to smuggle song birds out of Guyana and were penalised in accordance with the provisions of the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act (2016). They were:
- Harrigobin Lalta, who was fined 1 million GYD after being found with 15 song-birds en route to Canada;
- Seenarine Ramparshad, who was sentenced to 6 months in prison after being intercepted with 3 song-birds destined for New York City;
- David Persaud, who was fined $300,00 for being in possession of 6 song-birds destined for New York City;
- Deryck Singh, who was fined $750,000 after 8 song-birds were found in his possession while travelling to Barbados;
- Deochand Dhanraj, who was fined $700,00 after being intercepted with 6 song birds while heading to New York City; and
- Lakesha Brown, who was fined $500,000 when she was found with 15 song-birds while travelling to New York City.
In each case, the birds were concealed in a cruel manner. There is often a high mortality rate when the birds are removed from the containers/devices in which they are concealed. The GWCMC commends the work of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) and the Guyana Police Force for their involvement in intercepting these smugglers. We look forward for continued collaboration as we attempt to stamp out the scourge that is wildlife trafficking.
We also take this opportunity to encourage persons wishing to export any species of wildlife to obtain the necessary licences and permits to do so.