Dedication, passion and team work buy time for Belize’s Macaws

There’s a nice trip report by Christopher Gabbard, the Executive Director of Tulsa based Rainforest Restoration Fund that can be read by clicking here.

The Rainforest Restoration Fund is one of the main sources of grant funding for the annual monitoring and nest protection work undertaken by Roni Martinez and Charles Britt.

One of the things that I like most about what Roni is doing is that he’s using FaceBook to reach out to both a domestic and international audience. To compliment the small number of paid, well trained Belizean monitoring staff at the nesting sites (paid for by the RRF and Loro Parque grants) Roni recruits volunteers that spent one or more nights guarding nests in the Chiquibul. Many of these volunteers were Belizean. This is a smart strategy as the future of conservation in Belize and the survival of the macaws will ultimately be in the hands of passionate and motivated Belizeans’. FCD is also working on a similar strategy with the hope that  the 2013 nesting season can be even more successful than this years.


Illegal gold panning in the Chiquibul requires urgent action

Channel 5 News and Channel 7 News carry stories today indicating that significant numbers of Guatemalan’s are illegally panning for gold in the Ceibo Chico region of the southern Chiquibul. Raphael Manzanero, the Executive Director of Friends for Conservation and Development is obviously very concerned about the environmental damage that is resulting from the illegal panning and settlement. FCD have been monitoring the situation since last October but with few resources and a delicate political problem there is little they can do other than try and gain support for action through the media.

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FCD to administer and manage Las Cuevas Research Station

Friends for Conservation and Development have formally been recognized as the organization to take over the administration and management of Las Cuevas Research Station at the heart of the Chiquibul.

For many of us who have been involved with conservation in Belize and the Chiquibul in particular this is great news. With the help of their many friends I hope that FCD will be able to breath new life into Las Cuevas so that it becomes a thriving centre for environmental education and biodiversity research.

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Ceibo Chico Conservation Post established

Although is now old news from earlier this month I wanted let those concerned about the Chiquibul know that The Ceibo Chico Conservation Post and South Chiquibul Joint Enforcement Unit have been established bringing Friends for Conservation and Development rangers, BDF, Forest Dept. and the police department together to help monitor and react to any illegal activities taking place in the south Chiquibul. This has for some time been a very vulnerable area due to illegal squatting and it is hoped that the establishment of the joint task force will also help combat illegal logging and xate collection as well as the poaching of scarlet macaw chicks.

Photo of the Week

The Ix Jaguar Density Research Project has caught thousands of images of Belize’s cat species but rarely does the camera catch 3 in the same frame!

Roni Martinez posted this image of 3 Puma’s last week on Facebook. The image was taken in the MPR on the borderlands of the Elijio Panti National Park.

SEA Belize win Bodhi Tree Foundation Grant

SEA Belize have been awarded a 2012 Bodhi Tree Foundation Grant to help conserve biodiversity. One of the three 2012 grant recipients ( Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust and Cambodian Living Arts Program were the other two grant recipients) will be awarded the special “Travel Powers Change” grant.

Help SEA Belize’s win the award by voting here.

Inkaterra wins the Tourism for Tomorrow Conservation Award

Inkaterra, the Peru based hotel group owned by José Koechlin von Stein and his wife Denise Guislain have won the prestigious Conservation Award at the 2012 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards in Tokyo, Japan.

As one of the preliminary judges of the Conservation Award category I’d like to extend my congratulations to José and Denise. Inkaterra is a shining example of what can be achieved by hotel groups if they are truly committed to sustainability. For over 30 years José has been dedicated to sustainable development, operating world class hotels while funding biodiversity research through the desire to protection the landscape and cultures in the areas Inkaterra operate in. Belize can learn much from the way José has developed his business and I recommend that hoteliers take a look at the best practices that Inkaterra have put in place. Please click here for more information on Inkaterra.

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