Caroni cats poisoned, autopsy confirms

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

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