Forestry Supervisor with responsibility for wildlife here in St. Vincent and Grenadines Glenroy Gaymes has emphasized the importance of safeguarding the nation’s frog and snake species.
Mr. Gaymes, who has worked with the forestry department since 1990, highlighted the vital role that SVG’s frogs and snakes play as indicator species.
“You talk about the snakes, you talk about the frogs, and a lot of people don’t like to hear about snakes, people don’t like to hear about frogs, but these are the most important species to protect, even more than the St. Vincent Parrot. There’s something that’s called an indicator species, and frogs, because they breathe through their skin—some snakes also—you find that if something happens, any kind of minute changes in your atmosphere, those two species are the first two that will be affected and those will indicate to you that you have to look out for whatever pathogen or whatever might be out there,” he said.
Mr. Gaymes’ statement comes following the sighting of one of SVG’s endemic species, the congo snake, went viral on social media. He explained that the rise in sightings of the species is related to increased heat, which has created favourable conditions for the snakes.
“Climate change, that’s a big buzz word at this time and one of the things that we think is causing this uprise in sightings of snakes in particular is the heat, because snakes, they need heat to get active, so they will show themselves,” he explained.
According to Director of the Forestry Department Fitzgerald Providence, local Congo snakes can grow to a maximum of about 10 feet, and can be identified by the hourglass-shaped pattern on the skin.