Guyana announced Thursday that it has created a task force to curb a thriving illegal wildlife trade that targets animals in the South American country’s lush interior.
The move comes amid an uptick in exotic meats being exported and sold at local restaurants as well as an increase in hunters from the U.S., Canada and neighboring Trinidad.
The Natural Resources Ministry said the task force will help enforce wildlife protection laws and ensure that hunting seasons are being respected. It also will be responsible for issuing the first-ever permits to hunters and trappers as well as vendors who sell wild game.
Animals including jaguars, wild hogs and deer live in Guyana’s heavily forested interior. Rivers in that region also are home to the Arapaima, one of the largest freshwater fish in the world.
The government appointed retired army official Maj. Gen. Joseph Singh to run the task force.