Bigi Pan Camp for wardens in Suriname

Shorebird conservation plan in Suriname reaches the next level as Bigi Pan Camp opens to assist game wardens on anti-poaching patrols.

November, 2012
NJ Audubon’s Research Department has been working in Suriname with conservation groups (Friends of STINASU) and the government for several years as part of an international shorebird conservation strategy to identify and protect important wintering grounds as well as the shorebirds themselves. Several years of banding data from NJ Audubon research teams, along with aerial surveys conducted by Canadian scientists, have documented areas used by wintering populations of Semipalmated Sandpipers and other shorebirds.

The second phase, public education and enforcement of hunting regulations (it is illegal to hunt and kill shorebirds in Suriname), has now begun. Dr. Arie Spaans and Friends of STINASU (a local conservation group), along with NJA’s VP of Research Dr. David Mizrahi have developed educational posters and signs about Suriname's laws against hunting shorebirds. To facilitate enforcement, NJ Audubon has worked with the Suriname government to equip game wardens for patrols to discourage poachers. The recent opening of the Bigi Pan game warden camp is the latest improvement to assist patrols. This article from the local Suriname newspaper documents the event. Dr. Arie Spaans of Netherlands (pictured second from left) and Dr. David Mizrahi were on hand in November for the ceremony, which marks the beginning of increased anti-poaching efforts.

Working with local biologists and educators, this public awareness campaign and public education effort focuses on the reduction in illegal hunting of these species. Additionally, we believe possible economic benefits from ecotourism can help instill in the Suriname people a holistic picture of environmental awareness, conservation efforts and personal pride in their country’s natural resources for the benefit of not only shorebirds, but future generations of Surinamese as well. We are excited to have been a part of this international effort and look forward to continued progress as the international plans continue to unfold. NJ Audubon’s involvement in the international conservation plan of Semipalmated Sandpiper has expended in recent years to nearby French Guiana and Brazil, to document important wintering grounds in need of protection and work with local government agencies to initiate conservation efforts.

Below are samples of the posters and billboard which have been made for this public awareness phase.  The bold green print on the poster translates as "Save our coastal birds!"  "For many bird species, our coast is of international importance.  One third of the world population of the Scarlet Ibis can nest here.  Half of all shorebirds wintering along the coast of South America gather on the Suriname coast.  All species are protected by game law.  It is forbidden to shoot or trap these species!  Look at them and enjoy them in a different way." 

One of the posters on protection of coastal birds circulated to small businesses, schools and government offices between the cities of Paramaribo and Nickerie in Suriname.  One of the billboards located along the only east-west trunk road which connects Paramaribo with Nickerie, the westernmost city in coastal Suriname.  Translation, "All shorebirds are protected by law.  So don't shoot or trap them, do not sell or buy them, do not prepare or eat them."

JOIN US: To make a tax-deductible contribution earmarked specifically to help NJ Audubon’s Research Department continue its Shorebird Research and Monitoring Program, contact Brian O'Leary, Vice President for Development, at 908-204-8998 extension 16. Or, you can click here to donate online.