NEW CABALLO CONSERVATION POST FOR THE CHIQUIBUL NATIONAL PARK
July 31, 2017— (Belmopan, BZE) Through funding from the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT) and the Environmental Management Fund (EMF), a new conservation post has been constructed in the Chiquibul National Park at a cost of BZ $115,000. Today, an official inauguration was held for the Caballo Conservation Post after which a tour of the new facilities was provided to guests. Present at the inauguration were Hon. Dr. Omar Figueroa, Minister of State in the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development (MAFFESD) as well as CEO in the Ministry and PACT Board Chair Dr. Percival Cho, and CEO in the Ministry of Defense Felix Enriquez among others. The new conservation post is part of the Chiquibul Forest Investment Initiative (CFII) that was launched in December 2016. The main objective of the initiative is to increase the management and enforcement presence within the Chiquibul, Columbia, and Vaca forest areas. PACT Board Chair Dr. Cho, in his welcome remarks, highlighted that “the Caballo conservation post is but one part of a larger goal aimed at encouraging multi-institutional strategy and strengthening the capacity for joint law enforcement and protection of the Chiquibul.”
Over the years, the Western border of Belize along the Chiquibul and surrounding areas have been subject to illegal gold panning, logging, and poaching among other activities. PACT and the EMF’s investment of BZ $2.28 million in the CFII aims to minimize the effects of illegal cross-border activities by increasing the management presence and enforcement within the Chiquibul. The CFII also brings together four key partners working in the most afflicted areas. Known as the CFII Consortium, beneficiaries include the Belize Defense Force (BDF), the Belize Forest Department, Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD) and Ya’axché Conservation Trust. Over the course of the Program, the CFII will facilitate the construction of two new conservation posts to allow for increased enforcement presence in the area, as well as the creation of access roads to alleviate the problem of limited accessibility for patrolling and monitoring. To further assist with patrolling and monitoring, under the CFII, a total of six new vehicles at a value of BZ $450,146.30 were handed over to the Consortium in May of this year.
PACT would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all consortium members, enforcement teams, and partner agencies for their service to this country through their hard work and their pledge to defend the biodiversity and integrity of these protected areas. Also, we would like to express our gratitude to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development for key technical support and contribution towards the success of this initiative.