conservation action

Project rapportage. Regeling Bijzondere Uitkering Natuur voor Bonaire, Sint Eustatius en Saba (2013 – 2019)

The Openbaar Lichaam Bonaire, virtually all nature organizations, private companies and most individuals on Bonaire recognize caves as important features in the landscape and are aware of one or several of their values. Attempts to implement proper protection and management have been conducted with different degrees of success in the past. However, a financially sustainable and efficient management system has not been proposed yet and there is no indication of any significant efforts toward these goals currently ongoing. Successful conservation of caves on Bonaire can only be achieved through the integration of multiple disciplines, institutions and people, organized by means of a strategic plan.

Currently, the ecological, scientific, recreational, cultural and touristic values contained in caves are threatened by uncontrolled activities, both of legal and illegal character. There is virtually a complete lack of management and supervision of the activities happening in the Bonaire caves today. Illegal dumping of solid and liquid waste, uncontrolled visits and “off the record” exploration and documentation efforts by different personal initiatives are a few examples that illustrate this situation. Most importantly, despite their ecological importance, bat populations on Bonaire are threatened by uncontrolled visits to caves that they use as maternity chambers.

Overall Objective

To create the Bonaire Caves and Karst Nature Reserve in order to provide optimum protection and management for the natural, cultural, recreational and scientific values contained in the Bonaire Cave System by September 2019.

Project purpose

  • To protect, conserve and restore (if applicable) the natural, cultural, historic, esthetic, recreational and scientific values contained in the cave systems of Bonaire, including, but not limited to, the native flora and fauna, the speleological formations and the ancient inscriptions for future generations,
  • To restore the native vegetation of Bonaire,
  • To ensure a viable population of 5 keystone species for the island and their ecological interactions,
  • To ensure that the residents of, and visitors to Bonaire receive a quality education and information about the ecological importance and protection of caves and the values contained in them,
  • To promote and ensure that the resources contained in this cave system are used in a sustainable manner
  • To ensure that human safety is given priority during all cave related activities.

Impact project en borging resultaten

For the implementation of the Bonaire Caves & Karst Nature Reserve, the political will of local decision-makers is key. In order to include this implementation on their agenda, lobbying from different sectors is essential, being the most important ones the Dutch Government, universities and research institutions, nature-funding organizations (e.g. WWF, DierenLot and Postcode Loterij), local nature organizations and, last but not least, the local tourism sector guided by the TCB office.

For conducting the necessary research and monitoring of bat populations and other species protected by local legislation inhabiting caves and karst environments (e.g. candle cacti, barn owl, Yellow-shouldered parrot and pearly-eyed thrasher) only funding is needed. The expertise is For conducting the necessary research and monitoring of bat populations and other species protected by local legislation inhabiting caves and karst environments (e.g. candle cacti, barn owl, Yellow-shouldered parrot and pearly-eyed thrasher) only funding is needed. The expertise is locally available and research and monitoring for the species above mentioned are either irregularly ongoing due to lack of funds or a written plan already exists. CARIBSS will propose to implement a fee system, similar to one of the national parks, for the use of these areas. Lastly, for fencing the complete park, only funds are needed as well. Approximately USD 20,000.00.

Data type
Other resources
Research and monitoring
Geographic location
St. Eustatius

Feral goat eradications on islands.

Abstract: Introduced mammals are major drivers of extinction. Feral goats (Capra hircus) are particularly devastating to island ecosystems, causing direct and indirect impacts through overgrazing, which often results in ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss. Removing goat populations from islands is a powerful conservation tool to prevent extinctions and restore ecosystems. Goats have been eradicated successfully from 120 islands worldwide. With newly developed technology and techniques, island size is perhaps no longer a limiting factor in the successful removal of introduced goat populations. Furthermore, the use of global positioning systems, geographic information systems, aerial hunting by helicopter, specialized hunting dogs, and Judas goats has dramatically increased efficiency and significantly reduced the duration of eradication campaigns. Intensive monitoring programs are also critical for successful eradications. Because of the presence of humans with domestic goat populations on large islands, future island conservation actions will require eradication programs that involve local island inhabitants in a collaborative approach with biologists, sociologists, and educators. Given the clear biodiversity benefits, introduced goat populations should be routinely removed from islands.

Data type
Scientific article
Research and monitoring