Initial reports of necropsies done on the carcasses of several dead animals found at the Caroni Bird Sanctuary on Wednesday night have confirmed the animals died of poisoning.
Kathleen Braithwaite of the Animal Welfare Network (AWN) told Guardian Media yesterday that she was still awaiting the full report of the necropsy to find out what kind of poison was used to kill the animals.
On Wednesday night, Braithwaite and her husband, who is a veterinarian went to the sanctuary after being told that several cat carcasses were seen at the site.
In total, Braithwaite found six dead cats, the carcasses of a yellow-headed caracara and a golden tegu. She said AWN was told a crab-eating raccoon was also killed but she was unable to find its carcass.
Yesterday Braithwaite said the theory of cats being poisoned in Curepe and dumped at the site was very unlikely. On Thursday, a senior lecturer at the University of the West Indies reached out to Guardian Media saying seven stray cats that he had been taking care of for the past four years went missing on Tuesday night. He questioned whether the carcasses found at the sanctuary could be those cats.
But Braithwaite explained how cats react to poison, saying, “The way poison works on cats, is if they eat the poison, most likely they aren’t going to die immediately, they will wander off to an area and you may not even find the bodies, it’s not that they eat the poison and then just drop down and die immediately, the whole theory behind someone poisoning cats, removing their bodies and scattering them all over the sanctuary, I can’t see that happening.”
She said although six carcasses were found at the sanctuary, there were still living cats when she visited on Wednesday.
“There are still cats at the sanctuary, while we were there we saw some of them eating some chow that was leftover. We tried to catch some of them but when you approach them, they run away from you,” she said.
Braithwaite described cats in the sanctuary as “not ideal” and renewed her call for the Ministry of Agriculture to step in and humanely remove the animals.
Meanwhile, Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Clarence Rambharat said he has asked for a report on the matter.
He said, “ I have asked for a report on the discovery of the dead animals. I have not received it yet.”
The Minister said the presence of cats at the Caroni Bird Sanctuary has been an issue for a long time and “no recommendation has been made to deal with this issue, which is in the hands of the acting Conservator of Forests who is currently out of the country.”
- by Sharlene Rampersad