Grenada Dove’s existence threatened by sale of park

2006 December 20
by David J. Ringer

GREENE CO., MO. — From the Grenada Ministry of Tourism’s website, a page titled “Vital Mt. Hartman Dove Sanctuary” proclaims:

The [Grenada] dove is currently considered one of the most endangered birds in the world; less than 100 of the species remain. Conservation of the dove, ecological research, and education are the primary management objectives of the National Park. [...] The Mt. Hartman Dove Sanctuary provides a chance to learn more about this endangered dove and how we can ensure its protection for present and future generations.

It’s bitterly ironic, given that the Grenadian government has now decided to sell the national park to Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. From a BirdLife International press release dated yesterday:

A ‘high-end luxury resort’ threatens one of the last remaining refuges for the Grenada Dove [Leptotila wellsi], a Critically Endangered species with a global population of just 180 birds. In an unprecedented move the Government of Grenada looks set to sell the whole of the Mount Hartman National Park to make space for a Four Seasons Resort, on the basis of its biodiverse location and “sea-view”. The Mount Hartman National Park – also called ‘The Dove Sanctuary’ – in the south-west of Grenada, supports at least 22% of the global population of the Grenada Dove – equating to just 20 pairs. With such a low population in just a few remnant patches of forest, Grenada Dove is facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the near future. Continue reading “Government of Grenada sells off National Park for Four Seasons resort”…

I first heard about this threat last Saturday as I talked with an acquaintance who has contributed his expertise to the betterment of Mount Hartman National Park. Now that word of the pending sale is out officially, perhaps negotiations or public outcry will make a difference for this critically endangered dove.

Having spent time in countries that do not have the material resources of much larger, industrialized nations, I know that governments and local people sometimes desire to boost their economic status or quality of life by selling off their natural resources to huge, multinational developers.

But once those natural resources are gone, they really are gone — particularly on small islands like Grenada. And then what will the Grenadians have left? Surely their future — like the dove’s — lies with the land.

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