Category Archives: Nature

Dive Glide: A must see video

Glenn Faires is dive instructor on St. Eustatius. He invented a fantastic device that allows you to glide easily through the underwater world.

DiveGlide is a new water sport similar to sailing or surfing only done below the surface where you harness natural forces to create motion.

Unlike other devices that tow divers through the water, DiveGlide has no batteries or electric motor. Positive and negative buoyancy acting against a wing are what make it go. Buoyancy is actually one of the most powerful forces controlled by man moving the largest creations on earth… ships.

The key to DiveGlide is its ability to control these forces under water with ease. DiveGlide gets the power from scuba tanks and weights mounted inside the hull of the glide; the benefits of this are quick recharge, no maintenance, and silent running. The present model reaches speeds of 10 to 12 mph, which converts, to a feeling of over 100mph if you were in air. This allows the diver to travel at speeds of most marine life while making very little sound. It has also been identified as a very stable platform for mounting video equipment or for under water filming.

DiveGlide is suitable for every level of diver from a casual snorkeler to the most advanced diver depending on where and how it is being used. Inventor Glenn Faires owner of Golden Rock Dive Center on Statia said, “I came up with the idea while watching fish on my daily dives”. He has spent the last 8 years figuring out how they use buoyancy to move and how divers could also use this power source. He went on to say; “I have done every under water sport there is and this one has it all, there is a learning curve, its challenging, powerful, and most importantly fun and fast!

(source Amigoe)












picture taken from youtube



Commissioner Tearr sets up action plan for Donkeys.

Information in this article is not correct. Mr. Tearr stated in a letter published here:  that no donkeys will be euthanized to make small herds. ST. EUSTATIUS– Commissioner Carlyle Tearr has drafted an action plan to remedy the situation concerning more than sixty neglected locked-up donkeys in St. Eustatius.

Statia’s Greenfound Foundation sounded the alarm about the suffering donkeys locked up in a pen between the offices of the Department of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fishery LVV, and Governor de Graaff School, in a letter to the editor published in The Daily Herald on Feb 13.

Based on this letter, centre-democr at D66 party Member of Parliament (MP) Gerard Schouw asked a series of questions to Dutch State ecretary of Economic Affairs Sharon Dijksma.

Commissioner Tearr said Tuesday he still wanted to put an end to roaming donkeys in Statia, but first would put in place an eightpoint action plan.

In the action plan the Island Government commits itself to maintain two herds of 20 to no more than 30 donkeys in total, until the time that a private entity is able to do this in a reliable and sustainable manner on private land. The total herd on the island will be reduced to 20-30 donkeys. The Island Government will maintain the herds even though there is at present no economic use for the animals. LVV actively will seek means for sustainable use of the remaining donkeys.

The donkeys will be moved temporarily to another pen. For now, LVV will set aside five pastures of approximately 10 acres each on government land at Fairplay for two herds of donkeys that will rotate from pasture to pasture on a regular schedule.

A water pipeline will be installed to the pastures as soon as possible. Government will provide water and fodder consisting of locallygrown grass. “For this we will hire a non-governmental worker who will be paid by the truckload,” Commissioner Tearr explained.

Government will provide veterinary care when and if there is a veterinarian onisland. Outside parties are welcome to donate food and medicine.

“While government is restricted in funds and the availability of machines it will, however, care for a herd of donkeys. The donkeys have already been moved to a new and bigger pasture,” said Tearr. Marina Mels of the Donkey Sanctuary in Bonaire is currently in St. Eustatius to monitor the situation.

(source DH 27 feb)

D66 seeks action to save Statia’s starving donkeys

(DH 19 Feb) THE HAGUE–The terrible situation of more than sixty neglected, locked-up donkeys in St. Eustatius has caught the attention of the Democratic D66 Party in the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament. D66 Member of Parliament (MP) Gerard Schouw posed a series of questions to Dutch State Secretary Sharon Dijksma on Monday in which he demanded clarity on the circumstances under which the donkeys are held and called for action from the side of the Dutch Government.

Schouw asked the State Secretary if she had taken notice of the “grim situation” of the donkeys locked up in a pen between the offices of the Department of Agriculture, Husbandry and Fishery LVV and Governor de Graaf School as described in a letter to the editor by Kay Boyd of Statia’s Greenfound Foundation published in The Daily Herald on February 13.

The MP asked Dijksma if it was correct that between 60 and 70 donkeys are being held under “gruesome circumstances” and that the local government has promised to end this situation.

Schouw urged the State Secretary to take this matter up with local authorities and to look into the possibility of having Greenfound Foundation look after the animals.

In her letter, Kate Boyd requested Statia’s Executive Council to release the LVV of the responsibility of taking care of the donkeys and turn it over to  Greenfound Foundation, as the LVV is clear that the department in question has not been able to deal with the added task of caring for them.

The process of capturing donkeys started in St. Eustatius last year in an effort to curb the large number of roaming animals on the islands. The male animals were neutered and placed in an enclosed area together with the female donkeys that were captured. The animals, some of which have been locked up for a year, are starving because they are fed either improperly or not at all. Water and shelter is also insufficient. A number of donkeys have already died.

“Let us take care of the Donkeys”, says Greenfound Foundation

Below, you can see the pictures from last years’ visit of World Vets. They came to Statia to help out with small animals, but they also castrated some 70 Donkeys and together with LVV, they made sure the donkeys were kept in a new pen, instead of roaming the island. On the other pictures, you can see how the donkeys are doing now, a year later. World Vets visited the island again a few days ago and had a meeting with LVV about the donkeys. Before World Vets came, government recently put the donkeys in a new pen and in the meeting they had, Roberto Hensen, head of LVV and responsible for what happened promised to make a waterline to that pen. The Greenfound foundation is working hard to convince government to let the foundation take over the responsibility for the donkeys. They are in contact with the Donkey organisation on Bonaire and with the Donkey organisation “Devon” in Great Brittain and also try and get support from animal right organisations worldwide and in Holland.  They are also trying to see if this neglect of the donkeys is a criminal offence. Here is the letter to the editor concerning this matter, since this letter was send out via the statianews mailinglist, a lot of readers gave support to the foundation, they were sent through to the Greenfound foundation and were received in gratitude. One reader suggested to let the schoolchildren from Gov. de Graaffschool, situated in close vicinity of the pen,  feed the animals, but the Greenfound foundation says it is too soon for that, feeding them now is a delicate matter since a lot of them are dying. Please also comment here on the website.

Dear Editor,

On Statia, people of a certain age remember “Cap”, the last of the donkey-riders, an old man who rode his donkey every day from home to town and back. As on many islands, donkeys once provided the entire economy with transportation, and over time they became a living symbol of history and culture. Each island has its unique aspect of Caribbean culture; Statia has been agricultural, and many people still are farmers. It has not been so long ago that the people kept and rode donkeys, and “Cap”, little man with a big smile and a friendly word, was one of those.

In more recent years, roaming donkeys caused problems for the people. Last year most Statia donkeys were captured, males were neutered, and many were sold off island. Today perhaps 60 or 70 of those remaining are inside a fenced enclosure on the north side of the island, stretching from the new Governor De Graaff School to the LVV office area. Some have been in this pen since February 2012.

Well and good. Many Statia people want roaming animal control. (A local farmer said he estimates we have upward of 3000 free-roaming cattle.)

But not well and good for the donkeys. Control is one thing, management another. Out of sight and out of mind (many citizens don’t even know the donkeys are in the pen), but worse: the donkeys are starving. They have not been fed at all, have eaten all the grass and forage in their enclosure since almost four months now, and don’t get enough water in their three small tubs, which are the size of my laundry basket. There is even a breeding goat herd in their pen to compete for every leaf and blade.

A visiting Volunteer Veterinarian group in February 2012 warned that the penned donkeys must be given shelter from the sun, daily water, and sufficient food, since they would soon graze their area clean. The Agriculture Department management agreed, and specifically promised that grass cut from the airport would be fed to the fenced donkeys.
In December 2012, one of our most experienced and respected local farmers was met on the street, and was asked if the donkeys were still getting enough water. He spoke seriously, “Sometimes they get water, but the problem is, they have no food.” “No food?? But it was promised they were to have all the grass cut from the airport!” “They never got any grass.” He repeated it. “Never. And since more than three months they have eaten everything to eat inside the fence. No one has fed them anything.”

Being a curious person who loves animals, I went on the New Year to see for myself. From outside the fence I could smell the dead ones. I went all around the enclosure. Some of the dead I could see, lying among the Caucia and Pondu. It was possible to see the circles of dust around the bodies, created as they moved their legs in the struggle to stand.

The others in the pen are not tame animals, but they followed me all along the fence begging for food. Could one of these be “Cap’s” donkey?

These animals are today so weak that when they just lie down to rest, or fall, they often have no strength to rise again; simply not enough power in their hips and legs even to stand. I have seen one or two pulled to their feet, and once standing, they walked away to live one more day. But rarely does anyone go into this sad field of dust and thorns, where a fallen donkey is barely visible from outside, and where, after about three days, the down ones die in thirst and suffering.

Sometimes the three little water tubs have been refilled more than once, so several could drink, but more often they are filled only once. The slower, shier, and weaker do not reach them in time, and get nothing. The three tubs often sit empty for three and four days at a time, when an ideal amount is 8 gallons per day per animal, which is possible since the Department has a water truck and a well just down the road. Statia donkeys are tough, but not tough enough for that neglect. Individual people have even been bringing water on their own.

With veterinary advice, several of us have begun to feed them with a tiny amount of imported grass and with local grass and bush, but perhaps 1/8 the amount they need. It is not enough, and is not a long-term solution. Some of the donkeys are simply starving. Others could have colic; lack of water, being reduced to eating poisonous plants not in their normal diet, eating sandy soil as they graze, are among the causes. Whatever the reasons, they are dying.

There is a reason animal cruelty is a crime in civilized countries. We know that what is done to the least of us is done to the rest, and our laws reflect that. Cruelty and neglect of children, the elderly, the disadvantaged, and yes, animals, debases all of us. Science tells us that animals feel the same emotions as humans, among them fear, doubt, bewilderment, anxiety, despair. And of course, they feel physical pain.

Statia people are not unkind. They are generally tolerant, rightfully proud, love their island, and sometimes wonder out loud why Government doesn’t do more about certain problems seen every day. They have many valid concerns other than donkeys.

There has been much recent melee of temper and blame; a sudden flurry of catch-up water and greenery delivery (mango leaves), quick burials of the donkey bodies. The Agricultural employees could have done more before now, true, but they are employees, not managers.

A management solution is possible, however. Everyone can see that the Agriculture/LVV Department is overburdened. They are busy in daily meetings, fighting battles on every front, on land and at sea. They are very busy controlling the cows, pigs, goats and sheep.

It was a good idea, but has been impossible to succeed at the added task of donkey management.

We request that the Executive Council free Agriculture/LVV from the donkey management responsibility, turn it over to our non-profit Foundation, and support us just as they tried with LVV. This will allow LVV to focus on those pesky 3000 cows, into whose mess the unhappy local or tourist can unexpectedly step, on any road, any day. The Foundation can do no worse for the donkeys than is being done now.

One day when I was giving them grass, a man driving by stopped and told me a story. He said that the tan colored donkey with a brown cross on its back is believed by many to be the same breed that bore Mary into Bethlehem. I do not know if this is true. But certainly it is the breed that bore “Cap” to Behind the Mountain.


Kay Boyd

Greenfound Foundation








On these two pictures you can see how the donkeys were doing one year ago, they were castrated in a joined effort with local volunteers and LVV staff and the World Vets. They were given a  pen to prevent them from roaming the island. 

And below you can see the situation one year later, the  same government donkey pen, no more grass and donkeys are dying.

















GVP school helps Stenapa with research on tropicbirds

ST. EUSTATIUS–The redbilled tropicbird nesting season is in full swing and St. Eustatius National Park Stenapa has started a sixmonth study on this species of seabird. National Park intern Andrew Ellis, who hails from the United Kingdom, assisted by students from Gwendoline van Putten High School, is responsible for finding and mapping accessible nests, marking them with individual numbers and measuring the birds in each nest.

Many of the nests that had already been discovered contain an egg or chick. Stenapa returns to each nest weekly to measure the chicks’ progress. Tropicbirds favour rocky outcrops, with Pilot Hill being the most popular nesting site in Statia. This makes access extremely difficult, due to the steep and dangerous terrain. Therefore, only nests near the bottom of the cliff can be marked. However, around 50 nests have already been found and there are plenty more within reach, said National Park Ranger Hanna Madden.

Part of the project is to determine the risk of predation of these birds. On nearby Saba, almost all tropicbird chicks were killed by rats and cats in previous years. In Statia, cameras will be set up in front of several nests in an attempt to capture photos of potential predators. Stenapa believes the predation rate in Statia is much lower than in Saba, however, this needs to be properly assessed.

All birds will be banded with a unique metal band around the leg that will identify them to Statia. Should any birds fly to nearby islands, it will be possible to trace them back to Statia.

7,5 Million Euro for Nature on Bonaire, Statia, Saba

THE HAGUE- Dutch State Secretary of Economic Affairs Sharon Dijksma has reserved 7.5 million euros for nature in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. This agreement was reached in a meeting that the State Secretary had with the Provincial States on January 14. Dijksma informed the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament on Thursday on the agreement with the Provincial States to make an additional 200 million euros available for nature in The Netherlands in 2013.

In her letter to the Second Chamber Dijksma announced that it had been agreed to reserve a onetime amount of 7.5 million for nature in the Caribbean Netherlands during this cabinet period 2012-2016. She gave no specifics. The State Secretary explained that more information  on the nature of the activities would be provided in the nature policy plan for the three Dutch public entities which is being drafted on the request of Dutch Parliament.

Dijksma said she wanted to stimulate the sustainable development of nature on the islands. “The Caribbean Netherlands has exceptional nature which is also an important source of economic development. I will see to it that the projects receiving these funds are carried out efficiently,” she stated.

Earlier this year, the islands were promised 10 million euros for nature management and sustainable development in the socalled Spring Accord. The islands were deeply disappointed when they heard that the new Rutte-Asscher cabinet had scrapped these funds. Opposition parties in the Second Chamber voiced objections.

Quill Crater Edge, St. Eustatius




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Why Join?

You may not be aware that the St. Eustatius National Parks Foundation (STENAPA) relies on grants and donations for the majority of our funding. These sources of funding can be irregular and inconsistent, thus creating uncertainty for programme, project and staff planning.


Statia is a small island with limited tourist amenities. Many liken it to the Caribbean of 30 years ago. Its simplicity, charm and beauty are based on the fact that it has not been “discovered” or heavily developed. These are also the reasons why revenues and tourism dollars are low.


In order to ensure the preservation of what is uniquely Statia, we need your help. Your support will help achieve the reliable fiscal funding that is essential to the sustainability of the National Parks.



Who Can Donate?

Everybody who is interested in nature.

By becoming a Friends of STENAPA member you will join others who are dedicated to conservation of the pristine eco-systems of St. Eustatius by investing in the future of STENAPA.


STENAPA is the only organisation on St Eustatius with a legal mandate to protect the environment and to manage all the island’s protected areas. These include the Statia Marine Park, the Quill/Boven National Park, and the Miriam Schmidt Botanical Garden.


What are we protecting?

Worldwide our environment is changing and in danger. Climate change, habitat destruction and disappearance, and over-fishing affect not only animal and plant species, but humans as well.





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Membership Level and 2013 Fee

_____      Spotted Drum          $40.00

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_____      Antillean Iguana               $250.00

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On the Website, friends of Stenapa program ( side line) you will

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Commissioners have divided port folio’s

ST. EUSTATIUS–Commissioner for the Democratic Party (DP) of St. Eustatius Nicolaas “Koos” Sneek and his new colleague in the Executive Council Carlyle Tearr have reached an agreement on the division of their portfolios.

Tearr is replacing former Commissioner Glenville Schmidt. Schmidt was forced to resign after DP’s  coalition partner, independent Island Councilmember Millicent Lijfrock-Marsden withdrew her support.

In the new Executive Council Commissioner Sneek will be responsible for finance, economic affairs, island taxes, energy and water distribution, tourism, general affairs and Planning Bureau, research ad planning, constitutional affairs, government buildings, airport, harbour and piloting, information and protocol, legal affairs, public health and personnel affairs.

Commissioner Tearr will be managing the portfolios of public works/planning and preparation, spatial planning, traffic and communication, public housing, waste management, building and housing control, environment and nature management, registry of public properties, agriculture, animal husbandry and fisheries, social affairs, education, culture and sports, labour and senior citizen care, women and gender affairs, youth affairs and monument care.