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Controlled Access to Bonairean Caves


In general, caves are exceptionally vulnerable to contamination due to the little exchange with the external environment. Contaminants accumulate faster and take longer to dilute or biodegrade. Therefore, pollution should be avoided as much as possible and great efforts should be made to preserve the environment inside caves as pristine as possible. Light and noise contamination is generally directly related to uncontrolled cave visitors and will be addressed in the next section of this strategic plan.

Not all uncontrolled visits are damaging to caves, however the major and too often irreversible damage caused to caves and the natural values contained in them are the product of this type of visits. Extreme losses like breakage and removal of speleothemes and/or objects with archaeological values, damage to ancient inscriptions and graffiti are examples of some of these incidents. Regarding the biodiversity inhabiting caves, too many accounts of incidents with high mortality of bats, especially during their lactation period, caused by uncontrolled visits are available. Another important aspect of uncontrolled visits is human safety.

Fernando Simal                                          
From: August 2017                    To: December 2017
Funds Approved
 Dutch Government

 Dutch Government

Openbaar Lichaam Bonaire


> Manage visits to caves according to their conservation category,
> Physically protect the cultural values contained in the caves,
> Ensure that the cave-dwelling bats are not disturbed during the day, specially during pregnancy and lactating periods,
> Keep vehicles at a safe distance (min. 100m.)from cave entrances,
> Improve parking conditions to cave visitors,
> Provide information to cave visitors with signs at the parking lots and cave entrances.