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May 5, 2020

Forest Fires Killed Animals, Destroyed Habitats

The rains last week doused the huge fires that were burning out of control in the Vaca and Chiquibul forest in the west. The damage, however, was already done. Huge areas of the forests were destroyed, several animals were killed and their habitats destroyed. The fires in the Vaca forest and along the western border are believed to have been caused by Guatemalan farmers. Friends for Conservation and Development, under the leadership of Rafael Manzanero, has been fighting the fires in an attempt to lessen the damage. Manzanero says the process to assess the damage to wildlife has begun.


Rafael Manzanero

Rafael Manzanero, Executive Director, F.C.D.

“As far as we know the fires were basically already off after the rains. We did do aerial over flight right around that very same time we certainly were able to validate and confirm that the fires, the smoke were basically already off. That also included the Chiquibul, the Caracol areas as well.  We were able to find some of the, or at least a few of the animals and their habitats that were impacted in the Chiquibul primarily. So for sure animals were displaced. We don’t really to what extent because in reality we still really need to zone off the area to look at the area of impact however we do know that we saw for example a bush rabbit in the Chiquibul that was burnt and for sure other nesting areas of birds and other smalls animals  were certainly been affected. We don’t really know the extent of that. It is really difficult to say for biodiversity in terms of impact. But we would try at least to look at the zone, any particular areas that were highly impacted at least really to get an idea and a sort of an approximation of the losses.”

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