Kralendijk – Yesterday, December 13, 2019 saw the official opening of a brand new nature part on Bonaire: ‘Bonaire Caves and Karst Nature Reserve’.
The initiative for the new park came from Fernando Simal of Wild Conscience. Simal said that he was happy that, after 10 years of hard work, he was finally able to celebrate this moment together with the other nature organizations and nature lovers present.
“In the media our nature is mostly negative in the news. A lot does go wrong, but we have something beautiful to celebrate today. This park is a fact and together with the government we have created legislation. Together with the business we have an education organized as a guide for this park, the park is freed from goats and donkeys and together we will ensure that this park remains beautiful “, says Simal.
Bonaire is the first island in the Caribbean to establish a protected area for a cave system with legislation. The park is accessible together with a specially trained guide. This takes hikers on a walk of 4 kilometers where tight sturdy shoes are an absolute must. During the trip several caves are visited; one of which is a snorkeling cave that can only be reached with a special rope ladder.
The walk goes through pieces of nature where one almost gets the feeling of being in the jungle, instead of the normally desert-like Bonaire. The absence of goats in the new park is clearly visible.
In the “Kueba Raton di Anochi” Professor Nassar shares his knowledge of the local bats with those present. Bonaire has 7 species of these animals, of which the Curaçaoan Long-Nosed Bat is the most special. This bat plays an important role for the cacti on the island. To guarantee tranquility for the cave which serves as a nursery for the bat, these caves are normally closed to visitors.
The establishment of the park is part of a larger plan for preserving the cave systems of Bonaire. More cooperation with the government is needed for implementation. Commissioner Elvis Tjin Asjoe said his government welcomed the initiative and encouraged nature organizations to continue to work together to achieve plans like this.
With the opening of the Caves & Karst park, Bonaire has become a bit more interesting for those who, in addition to underwater, also want to enjoy unique nature on the island above water.
More information on the park can be found online at http://www.caribss.org, while on of the certified tour guides to take you thru the park can be booked here: http://www.caribss.org/certified-guides/