Free range grazers
Goats were first introduced to the island of Bonaire when they were brought over in the 17th century on European ships. These new inhabitants led to a series of direct and indirect changes to marine and terrestrial ecosystem, significantly impacting the environmental health of the island. As grazers, goats often feed on young plants, eliminating local plant populations from reproducing or spreading. This has eventually led to a domination of the local landscape of thorny bushes and cacti. Furthermore, overgrazing eventually leads to increased soil erosion or an over decrease of water retention on the island.
STINAPA is in the process of removing all goats from the Washington Slagbaai National Park. This project, Proyekto Parke Bunita, is taking place over several phases and aims to positively impact both plant and animal biodiversity for the island. Using a combination of exclusion (fencing) and removal tactics, current populations are removed and future populations are prohibited to enter. Learn more by clicking the link below.
STINAPA’s lionfish density surveys started in 2011, tracking 24 locations on Bonaire. These surveys measured lionfish densities along a transect, at three different depths (15, 25 and 35 meter deep).
Overall, current monitoring and removing procedures have managed to keep the local lionfish population growth to a minimum within recreational dive limits. Areas inaccessible to divers, such as in the reserved areas, still require monitoring by marine park staff. Thanks to the hard work of BNMP and their dedicated patrol of volunteers, local lionfish populations have been kept under control. Learn more about the research and monitoring efforts by clicking the link below.