Students from the Wesley Hall Primary School recently received a practical lesson in Barbados??? zoology and they loved it!
The opportunity came last Friday as the Ministry of Environment???s Natural Heritage Department hosted a tour of the Wild Life Reserve to mark International Day for Biological Diversity.
In addition to getting a close look at invasive species including the African Green Monkey and the Giant African Snail, students were able to learn more about other pests currently wreaking havoc on the island.
Entomologist with the Ministry of Agriculture, Brett Taylor, who intrigued students with his samples of the different varieties of the Giant African Snail, also gave them some insight into other invasive plant pests. He identified the Sago Palm Scale and the Ficus White Fly, the latter which, according to him, is ???affecting ficus all over the island???. He also spoke of other emerging threats including the Red Palm Mite, which though not yet in Barbados, is causing tremendous damage, especially to coconut trees, in other Caribbean islands.
In terms of control, Mr. Taylor highlighted the various natural enemies which are currently used to control these invasive plant pests, and stressed the devastating impact the pests could have in the absence of the requisite natural enemies. By way of prevention, he reminded students of the dangers associated with persons travelling and bringing back to the island undeclared plant material in their luggage.
Chief Operations Officer at the Wildlife Reserve, Charles Sutton, introduced students to the toad and the African Green Monkey, which are also present on the island.?? The species were met by a combination of fear and awe by the eager students.