First cattle, now donkey & horse smuggled into Cedros

Donkeys have virtually disappeared across Trinidad over the past decade but thanks to smugglers, the animals have now reappeared in the southwestern peninsula.

On Monday around dusk, a grey donkey and a horse, believed to have been smuggled in from the South American mainland arrived in Icacos, much to the delight of residents.

The animals were seen walking side by side along the Southern Main Road. 

Unlike previous animal cargo which is brought up through a deserted river in the peninsula, residents expressed pleasure at seeing the donkey.

The last donkey of San Souci died several years ago and it has been years since a donkey has been seen in Trinidad.

A resident from Icacos said the smuggled animals are usually cows, sheep, and goats.

The cows are usually high bred Zebus and Holstein.

"It was in March that we first noticed a surplus of stray animals in Icacos. The animals are brought in illegally and they sit in front of people's homes, on the roads.

Sometimes we have to wait until they get up so we can get into our garages. We had an accident a few months ago where a car ran off the road trying to avoid a stray animal," the resident said.

Unwilling to give their identities because of the repercussions from the smugglers, the residents called on the Ministry of Agriculture to reopen the pound at the Cedros Breeding Unit so the stray animals can be impounded.

"Most times when the animals show up on evenings, the butcher trucks come in by morning and the animals disappear. We are hoping that the donkey stays," a resident added.

Since the closure of the Cedros Breeding Unit, there is no place to impound the animals so the police are turning a blind eye because there is no place to put the cows, a resident said.

Councillor for Cedros Shankar Teelucksingh said the matter has been brought to the attention of the police during a recent police Town Meeting.

"Residents raised the concerns of illegal animals coming in. At present they are seeing cattle, sheep, horse and now a donkey.

They are concerned about he4health and safety issues which are not being addressed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of National Security.

Contacted for comment Minister of Agriculture Clarence Rambharat said the issue has been brought to the attention of the Chief Veterinary Officer Animal Production and Health Division.

Rambharat denied that the Breeding Unit was closed. 

- Radhica De Silva


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