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Apr 30, 2020

Animals Dying Due to Forest Fires

The forest fires in the west and south are having devastating consequences for wildlife. Panthera Belize, an organization that focuses on the future of wildcats, has been monitoring the situation.  Recent fieldwork brought to light the reality inside the burning forest. Small creatures are unable to outrun the fires and perish. Big cats such as the majestic jaguar are being displaced as trees and habitats burn. The damage is invaluable and has wide-ranging effects. News Five spoke to Panthera Belize Country Director, Doctor Bart Harmsen.


Bart Harmsen

Dr. Bart Harmsen, Country Director, Panthera Belize

“One is a picture of a burnt down Howler Monkey. At the time there were actually two.  These animals, once they are caught in the tree of course the tree is very flammable especially in very dry conditions like there are now. The flames just engulf them, they cannot escape and they get burned down like that. It is equally that you have the animals that are able to escape that they are in an environment where they don’t have foods. We found an animal that we found, it is not burnt and it is a kinkajou. It is a night animal and eat fruits and it lives in the trees. That animal starved to death in a burnt out landscape. Another one was the turtle and snake. We found many turtles and snakes that were they and many other animals that were defienlty influenced by it and were running out of the forest. If you would throw fruits just to see what was out there they would all run around it. They would easily come around it. We noticed that. So there is a high impact.”

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