Protection of the birds of Socotra Island [Archives:2004/757/Culture]

July 22 2004

By Ali Al-Sharif
For the Yemen Times

My heart moved at seeing the incredible vegetation of Socotra Island, and I only wished that tree choppers would not be tempted to axe more of those unique plants, than is absolutely necessary to supply fire for domestic consumption and house roofing. However, in the wake of the remarkably fast development in many sectors of the Island following unification, coupled with the population growth which is on a dramatic rise, increasingly large quantities of fire wood as source of energy, are needed to meet the demands of the populace.
Having mentioned that, I wonder whether the authorities are focusing on trees and plants, which have a direct impact on the eco-system of rare birds on the island.
We should well know that one of the consequences of trees disappearing is to lead to the extinction of some types of bird. Therefore the environmental protection authorities should put its weight more heavily on this particular issue. Readers, 'environment' is a vast field, my emphasis in this context is to have this particular sector attended to urgently, objectively and seriously. Rare birds play an important part in attracting tourists to the spot and we are obligated to act now and not to wait for the future to protect them. It would most probably be impossible to restore the damaged part of this fascinating and precious environment unless the concerned authorities act now! But then how? Let me put the following proposal to the decision markers: make available butane gas to all corners of the Island at a subsidized price including the necessary building materials. In the long term, protecting the welfare of the people of the island will evidently result in the generation of an income for the state from tourism – provided energy is availed soon. If these steps are taken, environmental protection can be meaningful, possible and practical.
In the mean time, the technique of using other sources of energy: Bio Gas and Solar Energy, should be made known to the people of Socotra, as they are environmentally friendly and cost effective.