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Jul 28, 2010

New reserve established but APAMO

Jaguar study was put on the map by Alan Rabinowitz, the author of a well known memoir called Jaguar which focuses on his experiences of the jaguars in Belize.  Rabinowitz was instrumental in having the Cockscomb Basin declared a National Forest Reserve.  Four years ago, he started an NGO called Panthera, which entered into an agreement with the government to establish a seven thousand acre reserve called the Jaguar Corridor Wildlife Sanctuary. That all sounds good but there’s a rub because according to APAMO, the umbrella organizations of the NGOS, the relevant procedures have not been followed.   News Five’s Jose Sanchez reports.

Jose Sanchez, Reporting

An NGO which is new to Belize, signed a memorandum of understanding with the government to establish the Jaguar Corridor Wildlife Sanctuary. Panthera’s main mission is the conservation of wild cats around the world.

Howard Quigley, Panthera

howard quigly

“Not only is the jaguar a symbol of Belize, in that you see it on posters, you see it on brochures, but people come here and that’s what they think of. They think of Jaguars. Belize has become I think a symbol in so many ways of jaguar conservation and even large cat conservation in general because it’s been, to this point, very successful. The area that we were documenting today and putting, securing in the laws as a protected area is a small area. It’s about seven thousand acres and it really signifies so much more. The Jaguar Corridor Wildlife Sanctuary will become more of a symbol now for jaguar conservation because it’s right in the heart of the central Belize corridor. So it really is a small place but it’s a very significant, if not keystone place for jaguar movement and for other wildlife in the central part of Belize.”

While the new reservation is welcome, the Association of Protected Management Areas says that it was not established using procedures established under NPAC.

yvette alonzo

Yvette Alonzo, APAMO

“Without NPAC, which is the National Protected Areas Commission that was established in 2007 and had been in function for a year, the formation of this protected area or the establishment of this new area and the co-managers would have gone through this commission for review and providing advice to the minister. But, as I mentioned, the commission was operational for one year and then it was dismantled—well, we lost the coordinator and since then the government has not been able to identify a coordinator and get the commission reactivated, which we’ve been calling for for the last year and a half as well. We feel that eighteen months is too long for them to take to reactivate a commission, which was comprised of both non-government and government stakeholders and you know it was working fairly well in terms of that commission dealt with all issues that affected protected areas and it was responsible for the implementation of the National Protected Areas System Plan. So had we had that commission functional, this would have come through the commission and it would have been a transparent process and as I said, perhaps it’s a good move but I think we need to stop establishing and de-reserving ad-hocly.”

Wilbur Sabido, Chief Forest Officer

wilbur sabido


“The National Protected Areas Commission, what has actually happened is that it is presently being revitalized. Unfortunately, it went dormant for the past couple of years. The Ministry of Natural Resources and the environment commissioned a review of that particular committee. The recommendations have been made known to the Ministry of Natural Resources and really what we’re looking at is revamping that technical committee so that it could serve the purpose of advising the Minister of Natural Resources on issues related to the implementation of the National Protected Areas Policy and System Plan. So as it is right now, that committee still isn’t in existence, if you want to call it that but, hopefully, within the next week or so we will have the restart or the jump start of that particular committee. We expect that the co-management agreement will be really the first and foremost item on the table for us to look at what had been recommended by the Association of Protected Areas Management Organization (APAMO) and to incorporate as well government’s outlook in as far as what provisions need to be included in that particular template that had been recommended by APAMO.”

Howard Quigley

“These Wildlife Sanctuaries or parks in Belize need to have these co-management agreements to be able to manage them properly and that’s just the kind of discussion that we’re entering into with the Forestry Department today in fact to try to secure what is the future for the Jaguar Corridor Sanctuary, who will manage it, who might it be managed, what’s the park management plan? And I suspect that that kind of planning will happen probably within the next week or two to be able to secure the co-management and overall the park management plan so it’s a success.”

The re-establishment of NPAC has been long awaited by APAMO.  Sabido hopes that the co-management agreement for all these NGO’s will be signed by the end of 2010.  Reporting for News Five, Jose Sanchez.

According to Yvette Alonzo, APAMO only found out that Panthera was signing an MOU with the government, when it received an invitation to the event.

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1 Response for “New reserve established but APAMO”

  1. Darius Martinez says:

    There is no need for a fast track court to improve the conviction rate, what is needed is training of police court officials to improve their evidence gathering skills and to ensure that case files are properly written up and accounted for at all times.

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