Natural Heritage

 
 
 

BLESSED BY NATURE

Situated at the point where two tectonic plates meet, the islands of the Caribbean are of volcanic­ origin. St. Kitts is the summit­ of mountains that rise up from the ocean floor, and which, at certain points of its geological history, were submerged.

Much of the plant and animal life found on the island today come from far away continents­, transported here by wind and sea. They established themselves little by little on the rich volcanic soils.

Human settlement­ profoundly changed the natural environment­ as imported species multiplied replacing many native breeds.

Today the island is quite different to that first encountered by the early European settlers. It bears the imprint of human presence and the scars of numerous natural disasters. Forests that once covered the whole island were cut down to make way for the cultivation of crops. Sugar has grown on the slopes of St. Kitts for over 350 years.

The resilience of Nature however is reflected in the many man-made structures that are being reclaimed, entwined and engulfed by lush vegetation. Mount Liamuiga­, the volcano that dominates the central mountain range is an ever-present reminder of Her immense power and endurance.

turtleDid you know that sea turtles have been around for 150 million years! Their ancestors were giant land turtles that entered the sea, long, long ago when dinosaurs roamed the earth! It took millions of years for land turtles to change, for legs to become flippers and for heavy, bulky bodies to flatten into streamlined, lighter shapes. The first sea turtles looked almost exactly like they do today. See more information here

salt_pondCharacteristics of Salt Ponds
The shape and character of our ponds are continually changing because of human influences as well as regular seasonal changes. Generally, the average depth of the salt pond does not exceed one metre and some virtually dry up during dry spells. The ponds are replenished when they receive runoff from neighbouring hillsides. Along with rainwater comes sediment which then settles in the ponds. See more information here

forestThe native peoples who originally inhabited the island did little to change the forest of St. Kitts. They practiced small-scale slash and burn agriculture and mild selective tree harvesting.

When the English and French arrived in the 17th century, St. Kitts was almost completely covered with forests. These were soon cleared to make way for the cultivation of tobacco, indigo, cotton and sugar cane. See more information here

pigmy_whaleThere are many species of whale that live in Caribbean waters or migrate through on their way to feeding or breeding areas.

Whale watchers in the Caribbean regularly see dolphins, Short-finned Pilot whales, Humpbacks, Sperm Whales, Pigmy Killer and Melonhead Whales. See more information here

 

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THE HISTORY OF THE ST. KITTS VERVET MONKEY

 

Monkey

In Sir Thomas Warner’s records there is no mention of monkeys living on St.Kitts. After having spent a good part of his time settling the island, Sir Thomas Warner died in 1648. At that time it estimated that there were 12,000 Englishmen on the island, a seemingly large number, perhaps explained by the fact that English criminals were sent to island as forced labour. Burdon estimates that an equal number of slaves then existed on St.Kitts. Read More

 

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