Caribbean Sint Maarten wildlife Hurricane Irma damage

This video says about itself:

This clip is a tribute to the rich nature and marvelous wildlife on three islands in the Dutch CaribbeanSint Eustatius, Saba and Sint Maarten. Veldkijker filmed on the islands for several weeks in 2016 on behalf of Stichting Natuurbeelden and the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision.

Translated from Dutch daily Trouw:

Joop Bouma

5:00, 12 October 2017

More than a month after Hurricane Irma hit the islands of Sint Maarten, Saba and Sint Eustatius, the full extent of damage to nature – below and above water – is slowly becoming evident. The damage, especially on St. Maarten, is bigger than thought. A conservationist speaks of ‘an environmental disaster’.

Also on Saba there is considerable damage, including Mount Scenery, the 887 meter high sleeping volcano. The unique, secondary rainforest on the flanks of the highest mountain of the kingdom [of the Netherlands] has been severely affected.

It is estimated that 80 to 90 percent of the vegetation is damaged or destroyed. There is also good news: the unique mahogany trees at the summit have survived the enormous wind forces. The damage to Saint Eustatius is not as bad, even though the slopes of the sleeping volcano The Quill are severely damaged.

According to the latest reports of conservationists on the three islands, Irma and the slightly milder [for these islands] Hurricane Maria, which struck a few days later, has damaged the nature of the Caribbean islands for years.


On St. Maarten about 200 boats have sunk, ranging in size from 5 to 100 meters. Earlier, the number of sunken vessels was estimated at 120. Oil and other fuel from these ships is leaking slowly.

According to Tadzio Bervoets of the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (a partnership of Leeward islands conservationists) thousands of liters of fuel leak from the sunken ships. Especially Simpson Bay, a lagoon on the border of the Dutch and French parts of Saint Martin, has been severely affected. “This is an environmental disaster”, said Bervoets in his latest damage report.

On St. Maarten many historic trees have been felled by Irma. According to Bervoets, some bird species are already recovering. But the brown pelican, the national bird of Saint Maarten, has been decimated. Bervoets’ nature organization has asked residents to feed these birds in their gardens.

Of the mangroves on St. Maarten it is estimated that 90 percent gave been destroyed. In Millet Pond, an internationally protected wetland in Simpson Bay, the mangrove has suffered severe damage. Seagrass beds on the coast of the island have also been wiped out. It is estimated that two hectares were ruined by the hurricane.

Although not everything has been investigated, there has been a considerable amount of damage to the coral reefs of St. Maarten. In the National Marine Park of St. Maarten, founded six years ago, half of the coral is said to have disappeared or be affected. In St. Eustatius, the situation of the corals is more rosy. There is almost no damage underwater. However, the ten coral ladders, who had been placed 6 meters underwater in the Jenkins Bay to grow coral, were destroyed by the storm.

10 thoughts on “Caribbean Sint Maarten wildlife Hurricane Irma damage



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