The Bahamas National Trust celebrated its 60th Anniversary on July 13, 2019. On that day in 1959, the Bahamas Government passed the Bahama National Trust Act creating the BNT as the manager for the national parks of The Bahamas. The BNT was assigned the task of managing the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park, the first land and sea park in this hemisphere and shortly afterwards the Inagua National Park was created. Since 1959, 32 National Parks have been established and the BNT continues to work with NGO partners and the Government of The Bahamas to expand the protected area system to meet our national commitment of protecting 20% of our nearshore and marine environment by 2020. As part of its mandate the BNT works closely with scientists conducting research in national parks, promotes environmental stewardship as part of its environmental education programmes, and advocates for sustainable resource use, especially as it relates to marine resources.
15C Bahama Parrot (Amazona leucocephela bahamensis): Image by Patricia Vazquez
The Bahama Parrot was once found on seven islands in The Bahamas. However, by the 1970’s parrots were only found on Great Inagua and Abaco. The Bahama Parrot on Abaco is a unique ground nesting parrot, laying its eggs and raising its young in the underground limestone cavities found in the pinelands of southern Abaco. Scientific research indicated that the Inagua population was robust and stable but studies on the Abaco Population revealed that there were less than 2,000 birds, and that action needed to be taken to protect the southern breeding habitat of this iconic Bahamian bird.
From 1992 to 1994 the BNT, Department of Lands and Surveys and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries implemented an intensive public outreach campaign on New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco and Inagua. Bahamians were captivated with the parrot and strongly endorsed creating a national park to protect the breeding habit of the parrot on Abaco. In 1994, the Government of the Bahamas set aside 20,500 acres in southern Abaco to protect the breeding habitat of the parrot. Scientists identified feral cats as the major threat to the ground nesting parrot and BNT wardens working with scientific researchers and hunters implemented a predator control programme in 2009 and continue to closely monitor the breeding period of the parrot. As a result of the BNT’s active management of the park, recent surveys, in March 2018, indicated the parrot population in the Abaco National Park has increased to more than 9,000 birds – a true conservation success story.
70C Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber): Image by Melissa Groo
The brilliant coral pink color, strong flight and wild chorus of their assembled voices make a large flock of flamingos in their natural surroundings an exciting and spectacular site. Unfortunately the growth of human populations almost caused the extinction of the West Indian Flamingo.
By the 1950’s, a close working relationship had been established between the National Audubon Society and The Bahamas. Concerned with the sudden decline of the flamingo population during the early years of that decade. Audubon sent Robert Porter Allen, its Research Director, to investigate the situation. All of the places where flamingos were rumored to nest in the Caribbean – Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic- were searched. Owing to pressure from an expanding human population, fifteen colonies had been abandoned in the Caribbean over a period of 35 years. However, stories persisted about a great colony in the inhospitable wilds of Great Inagua.
Together, Bob Allen and Sam Nixon, a local hunter, found more than a thousand flamingos massed in a riotous courtship ritual of head turning, wing flicking and exaggerated strutting- “the Flamingo Quadrille” in the wilds of Inagua. These birds would become the parent population to replenish the long-abandoned colonies elsewhere in the Caribbean. The Society for the Protection of the Flamingo in The Bahamas was formed by American and Bahamian Conservationists. Samuel Nixon became the first flamingo warden on Great Inagua, with the National Audubon Society providing funding for his salary and equipment. Samuel was soon joined by his brother Jimmy and these Bahamians are true national heroes, credited with saving the Bahamian Flamingo populations.
With the formation of the BNT in 1959, as the official organization responsible for national park management providing support for wildlife management, the BNT took over the work the Society for the Protection of the Flamingo. By working closely with Morton Salt (business enterprise engaged in solar salt manufacturing), various government agencies and the National Audubon Society in a mutual aid partnership, the BNT helped the resident flamingo population grow from several thousand birds in 1952 to over 60,000 birds today.
The Inagua National Park established in 1962 has literally brought the West Indian Flamingo back from the brink of extinction as well as being recognized as The Bahamas Wetland of International Importance.
65C Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park: Image by Elijah Knowles
Established in 1958, the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park (ECLSP) was the first marine reserve in The Bahamas and the wider Caribbean. It is renowned for its breathtaking beauty, species biodiversity, secluded beaches, amazing views and safe anchorages. Throughout the park one can explore the underwater magnificence of coral reefs, mangroves and seagrasses, stroll along pristine beaches, traverse several hiking trails, and observe a diversity of wildlife including birds, fish, turtles and iguanas. The Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park is a “no take marine reserve” – nothing living or dead may be removed from within the boundaries of the ECLSP.
In October 2018, the Marine Conservation Institute awarded seven new blue parks, adding them to its Global Ocean Refuge System of highly protected marine reserves. Receiving a Platinum Award was the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park Global Ocean Refuge awards are akin to Oscars™ for the best movies and have been carefully researched by the Marine Conservation Institute and then vetted by an international council of respected marine scientists. They meet the highest science-based standards for biodiversity protection and best practices for management and enforcement. These strongly protected blue parks will make outstanding contributions to saving marine life for future generations.
In an archipelago of many islands and surrounding reefs, the ECSLP stands out for strong protection and careful management.
50C Queen Conch (Lobatus gigus): Image by Shane Gross
The BNT with a number of partners including the Department of Marine Resources, is looking to help sustain the Queen Conch population in the country.
The Conchservation Campaign has been designed to promote dialogue that will “result in best practices for the effective management of queen conch in the Bahamas,” with the ultimate goal of a sustainable queen conch population in the Bahamas.
One of the major issues is the harvesting of juvenile conch, or “rollers. According to scientific experts harvesting a single juvenile can mean thousands of new conchs will never be born. Recent surveys indicate that conch populations are declining across The Bahamas and if the country wishes have conch for the future new regulations need to be put in place to ensure that conch are harvested sustainably.
It is generally accepted by scientists today that a network of marine reserves is one of the keys to halting global fisheries decline. Adjacent fisheries benefit from the 'spillover' effect, while fish populations inside the reserves increase in size with individuals living longer, growing larger and developing more reproductive potential. The BNT is advocating for protection of 20% of The Bahamas near shore and marine environment be protected in a comprehensive system of connected marine reserves to insure the optimum larval disbursement to support Bahamian fishery resources.
Conch, a type of marine mollusk, contributes millions of dollars every year to the economy of the Bahamas, and is among the country’s most popular foods.
Designer Bee Design
Process Stochastic Lithography
Perforation 13 ¼ x 13 ½ per 2cms
Stamp size 42 x 28mm
Sheet Layout 20 (2 x 10)
Release date 10 October, 2019
Production Co-ordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd