The Saint Lucia National Trust, owner of Dennery Island, would like to extend its thanks and appreciation to the owners of the goats and sheep that until recently were grazing on the offshore island. During September of last year, these livestock owners cooperated fully with the National Trust and the Saint Lucia Forestry Department in a successful effort to remove all livestock from the island. This is an important milestone in efforts to recover the vegetation, and the wildlife, on Dennery Island.
The cooperation of the livestock owners–Mr Julian Raggie, Ms Odile Eudovich and Mr. Calixtus Cox–has been instrumental in achieving this milestone. Rats were removed from Dennery Island in 2005 by the Forestry Department and the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. But over many years, the vegetation on the island has become badly damaged by livestock grazing and erosion of the topsoil has become a serious problem.
The removal of the livestock is one of the first steps in a new project, which see the National Trust and the Forestry Department collaborating with overseas conservation organizations the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and Fauna and Flora International.
Mr Bishnu Tulsie of the Saint Lucia National Trust said “The support of the Dennery livestock owners has, and will continue to be, a huge help to the efforts of the Trust and our partners to restore Dennery Island. The important thing now is to ensure that no more livestock are put back onto this site, and also that other activities like cutting trees or lighting fires, are not allowed to interfere with the recovery of the island’s vegetation and soils.”
Mr Alfred Prospere of the Saint Lucia Forestry Department, and lifelong Dennery resident, commented: “Dennery Island is a distinctive and well-known feature of the community. We now have a real chance to stop its deterioration and bring it back to its former glory.”
As a next step, a site management plan for Dennery Island, along with Praslin Island, is being developed which will include consultations in November with people living in and around the communities of Dennery and Praslin.