Letters to the Editor

Game bird population thriving and stable

Monday, August 20, 2018

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Dear Editor,

As the game bird shooting season opened on Saturday, August 18, the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) assures the general public and licensed game bird hunters that the game bird population has been researched and assessed and determined to be thriving and relatively stable, further to comments made by readers of recent articles on game bird shooting.

NEPA has conducted research on the population of the four game bird species permitted to be hunted in Jamaica. The game birds belong to the Columbidae family (pigeons and doves) and include: Zenaida dove/pea dove, white-winged dove; white-crowned pigeon/baldpate and mourning dove/long-tailed pea dove.

This research, which is an integral part of the overall game birds management strategy, provides scientific data that has assisted the agency in establishing the peak breeding season of the game birds, their relative abundance, and the most probable time to declare a game bird shooting season.

Studies conducted by The University of the West Indies scientist, the late Dr Peter Vogel between 2001 and 2003 established that game bird breeding was concentrated during February to June of each year. NEPA's ongoing game bird population assessments throughout the years have confirmed that this remains relatively the same. The agency's 2017 assessment indicated that the national trend for the peak breeding of all four game birds occurred during the last week of April to the first week of May.

This data informs the opening of a game bird shooting season, which should not be declared sooner than 16 weeks after the nesting period. By calculation, this confirms that the 2018 Game Bird Shooting Season should commence on Saturday, August 18.

As the agency continues to conserve and protect Jamaica's wildlife population, the research has also aided in determining the overall bag limit per shooting session, which is 20 birds, with the exception of the white-crowned pigeon, which is 15.

NEPA, with the support of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and game wardens, will carry out monitoring operations during the season to enforce the compliance of hunters.

Peter G Knight, JP

Chief executive officer/government town planner

National Environment & Planning Agency

Kingston 5


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