Dead caimans at Schiphol prompt action in Guyana
Robert Persaud, Guyana’s Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment has said he has requested Dutch authorities to send him all information on the specific violations that were made in the two recent shipments of animals from Guyana that were found at the Schiphol airport. The deaths of almost 370 juvenile spectacled caimans (caiman crocodilus) in November and December at Schiphol, were horrific and could have been prevented, officials at the Dutch Food and Goods Authority NVWA have said. Minister Persaud said in a statement his country’s Wildlife Management Authority (MWA) would be developing clearer guidelines to avoid inspecting officers from being subjective toward animal dealers who send animals abroad. ”It is clear that while some parameters are established for the shipment of live animals, there is ambiguity in the guidelines which can lead to subjectivity on the part of inspecting officers,” the statement said. Minister Persaud said the WMA will also arrange training for its inspectors on the Live Animal Regulations of the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Officials at the Dutch Food and Goods Authority NVWA said it is not uncommon to find shipments of endangered animals at Schiphol, but the two shipments from Guyana were among the horrific. Of the 200 juvenile caimans and three emerald tree boa snakes that arrived at Schiphol on transit to the Ukraine, 48 caimans had died before they were discovered. The animals had also not been boxed properly and had been left out in the freezing cold for 1.5 hours. The three snakes and 14 other baby caimans were not doing too well, but according to Johanna Besteman of the Economic Affairs Department that had taken the animals in care, they had survived so far. “They are doing fairly well, but it’s still touch and go,” said Besteman today. And of the previous find on November 29 of 444 caimans, 318 had arrived dead; five perished the day after they were found. They had been shipped 50 animals per box, whereas the international directive is three per box. The shipper as well as the airline that allowed the shipment are likely facing prosecution for animal cruelty, violating international animal transport guidelines and CITES regulations.