Informational material on protected species (CITES) developed for the Caribbean Netherlands

Informational material for regulations outlined in the Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species of wild flora and fauna (also known as the CITES) has been developed for residents and tourists on Bonaire, Saba, and St. Eustatius. Posters, signs, and brochures have been made in four languages (Dutch, English, Papiamentu, and Spanish) by the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) by order of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (ANFQ).

Image credit: © Deviate Design & Mercedes Madriz

In advance of the return of tourists, these materials will be placed at the airports and ports, and at the government and customs offices, nature park management organizations, diving schools, and hotels throughout the Caribbean Netherlands. In this way, DCNA and ANFQ will work to raise awareness about the protected status of flora and fauna in the Caribbean Netherlands, such as orchids and corals, and the rules concerning the removal of these species.

Conservation of biodiversity

The islands of the Caribbean Netherlands have a rich biodiversity. Many species are endemic to one (or more) of the islands, meaning they cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Almost 200 species living in the wild in the Caribbean Netherlands are protected by CITES. The list includes turtles, iguanas, orchids, cacti, whales, rays, and bird species. Furthermore, the corals these islands are known for, living or dead, are also protected under CITES and therefore cannot be removed. In addition to the CITES regulations, stricter local rules and measures may also apply.

What does this mean in practice?

Exporting living or dead species included on the CITES list to another country without a CITES permit – including between the Caribbean Netherlands to the Netherlands and vice versa – is prohibited. These regulations apply whether the species or objects are taken as a gift or for one’s own use, and include items such as orchids, cacti, corals, seahorses, turtles, sharks, iguanas, and birds. These regulations also apply to parts or products made of or from these species, such as food products, exotic leatherware, wooden sculptures, ornaments, musical instruments, or local medicines. In certain cases, exporting species or objects is prohibited altogether. Violation of these regulations can lead to penalties and/or legal action.

Check in advance: is it protected?

The mere fact that something is for sale or that you found it on the ground or in the sea, does not mean that you are allowed to take or travel with it. When in doubt as to whether you can take a species (or a part of a product made of or from this species), you can contact the local CITES authority with the National Office of the Caribbean Netherlands (Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland, RCN), the customs authorities, the public entity, or the local management organization of the protected nature area.

What is CITES?

CITES is the Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species of wild flora and fauna which regulates and, if necessary, prohibits the trade or removal of a species for the benefit of conserving it in the wild. More than 37,000 flora and fauna species are currently protected under the CITES convention. A CITES permit is required for the trade of these species. In some cases, the trade is prohibited altogether if the species is seriously threatened with extinction. These regulations do not only apply to the respective plants and animals but also to products made of or from these species.

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Check the CITES information for the Caribbean Netherlands online:


For more information about CITES:


Article published in BioNews 41

Data type
Education and outreach
Research and monitoring
Geographic location
Saba bank
St. Eustatius

WSNP Monitoring Protocol

This document contains the written guidelines of the monitoring project in the Washington-Slagbaai National park of Bonaire. These monitoring guidelines are a product of BonBèrdè, an independent consultancy business focussed on nature conservation on the island of Bonaire. This document is requested by and written for STINAPA. The monitoring protocol will consist of a background information paper that includes all general information about the protocol as well as factors to be studied in the field. This is the Monitoring protocol. In addition to this document, a field guide is provided. The Field guide can act as a quick check in the field which will provide fast guidelines to the exact measurements of the monitoring itself.

As STINAPA is currently aiming to remove invasive herbivores from the Washington-Slagbaai National park, the goal of the monitoring project is to assess the current state of the ecosystem inside the park and keep measuring the possible changes over time, following the gradual removal of these animals. With the removal of invasive herbivores, the ecosystem viability is expected to increase and result in a positive succession and regeneration of native trees. However, these expectations will have to be measured in order to prove the necessity of invasive species management. The monitoring protocol can provide STINAPA with the tools to measure the changes in the park over time, using indicators of the possible regeneration. These indicators include:

  • Vegetation
  • Soil
  • Fauna

The monitoring protocol will include the exact indicators and factors that can be measured to assess the ecosystem's succession over time. Furthermore, the field guide will provide STINAPA with the manual on how to execute the monitoring in the field. All the methods and proposed actions in these documents are focused to achieve the best results while taking into account that the methods should be practical to implement and replicate by STINAPA personnel.

Data type
Monitoring protocol
Education and outreach
Research and monitoring
Geographic location