Bauxite mining threatens unique Jamaican wildlife
Jamaica’s Cockpit Country, around 450 km² of uninhabited moist tropical limestone forest with its extraordinary landscape of peaks, potholes and caves, and home to 27 of Jamaica’s 28 endemic bird species is at risk from bauxite mining.
Under licences already granted, mining companies have begun drilling for bauxite samples, the raw material for aluminium, to meet the world’s rapidly escalating demand for this valuable metal.
Conservationists in Jamaica are concerned that despite its international importance, the fate of the Cockpit Country is likely to go unnoticed by the rest of the world. …
Jamaica is recognised internationally for its high levels of endemism and is part of the Caribbean Biodiversity Hotspot.
Jamaica’s endemics include 828 flowering plants, 505 land snails, 21 amphibians and 34 reptiles, five bats and 20 butterflies.
Some of these—including two amphibians, two reptiles, and 65 plants—are found only in Cockpit Country.
It is likely that the sole viable population of the endemic, globally Endangered giant swallowtail, is confined to Cockpit Country.
Up to 95 percent of the world’s Black-billed Amazon Amazona agilis—one of two threatened endemic Jamaican parrots—live in Cockpit Country, which is also home to the Endangered Jamaican Blackbird Nesopsar nigerrimus.
This species forages mostly on bromeliads—epiphytic plants growing on the branches of trees.
But bromeliads are especially vulnerable to forest fragmentation and caustic dust from mining.
If production of these moronic military aircraft, which just kill and maim people, would stop, the need for bauxite would drop drastically.
Cockpit Country is recognized nationally and internationally as a habitat for more than 60 threatened species, making it one of the highest-ranked Important Bird Areas and Key Biodiversity Areas in Jamaica and the Caribbean. It is also important for its cultural heritage associated with the indigenous Maroons, and for the ecosystem services it provides. Four watersheds derive their source waters from Cockpit Country and together these watersheds support diverse habitats of moist, dry, and mangrove forests for migratory and resident birds: here.
The Hope Botanic Gardens in Kingston are a great spot to begin a birding getaway to this Caribbean nation or just for a quick visit during a business trip or family vacation. The urban setting provides a vastly different experience than other Jamaican birding destinations, but the variety of birds and the beauty of the gardens makes it well worthwhile: here.
Scotland: birds threatened by rich illegal collector.