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Jun 8, 2020

Guatemalan Shot Inside Chiquibul; Illegal Poaching Ongoing

A Guatemalan national is hospitalized after he was shot on the leg inside the Chiquibul Forest Reserve. Porfilio Ramirez Tirgeros, from the border community of La Rejoya, was along with another individual when they were caught poaching illegally, by an F.C.D. patrol. Ramirez Tirgeros is said to have advanced toward the patrol and this is when he was injured. He was carrying a number of prized scarlet macaws and climbing accessories were found in the bag carried by the second individual who escaped.  Here is News Five’s Duane Moody with a report. 

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

A Guatemalan national is currently admitted at the Western Regional Hospital after he was shot inside the Chiquibul. Thirty-six-year-old Porfilio Ramirez Tirgeros from La Rejoya, Peten, Guatemala was injured sometime around six p.m. on June seventh. Tirgeros was shot twice to the body with non-lethal bullets and when he reportedly continued to advance on the patrol with a machete, he was shot to legs. Field treatment was administered to the injuries and he was evacuated out of the area with the assistance of the B.D.F. because the incident occurred in a remote area of the Chiquibul, extraction took close to twelve hours.

 

Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“The matter is still in its infancy stage. Yes, I can confirm that one person was shot and that person had been extracted out of the Chiquibul Forest Reserve and is now at the San Ignacio Polyclinic.”

 

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

“The police are still conducting their own interviews so what we know is that there was an incident and the person has been taken up to the Belmopan hospital where the person is being treated. That was really what transpired as of yesterday and up to the morning since it basically happened in an area that is rather remote in the Chiquibul Forest.”

 

The F.C.D. patrol was in an area north of the Valentin Conservation Post in the Chiquibul Forest Reserve, monitoring cameras set up to detect poaching. During the inspection, two men with crocus bags were seen and pursued. As the patrol closed in on them, they were instructed to stop. One of them escaped, but another charged at the F.C.D. patrol with a machete. He was then shot and subdued.

A check of the crocus sack Tirgeros carried led to the discovery of five scarlet macaw chicks and a curassow chick in two five-gallon plastic containers, according to F.C.D.  In a separate sack, two additional scarlet macaw chicks were found. Tirgeros’ accomplice escaped, leaving behind his bag that contained climbing spurs, rope, clothing and shelter cover – all of which have been taken as evidence.

 

Rafael Manzanero

“The detainment was really one that we were able to note that in reality illegal wildlife trafficking is certainly one of the challenges that we are facing in the area and as such, yes there was scarlet macaws that were along with the person. Those macaws have now been put in the care of wildlife vet in Cayo. Hopefully, the macaws will be safe. I can note that of the seven parrots that were found with the person, two of them have died.”

 

Executive Director of Friends of Conservation and Development, Rafael Manzanero, says that in 2019 alone, over fifty scarlet macaws had been illegally extracted from Belize and taken into Guatemala, threatening the population of the parrot species.

 

Rafael Manzanero

“Even though there is the COVID-19 situation, certainly the illegal incursions still are ongoing; that has not stopped the criminal elements in this case, the illegal people coming into the protected areas. For sure, illegal wildlife trafficking is one that last year we were reported by our Guatemalan counterparts that some fifty parrots or more probably have been moved or trafficked into Guatemala. So this year we have been more attentive and putting more interventions, being able to monitor, being able to see and detect the human foot-printing.”

 

The incident, which occurred approximately one thousand two hundred and twenty meters inside Belize in the Caracol area of the Chiquibul Forest, has been documented, statements recorded and forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 

Chester Williams

“Concerning the fact that it is a matter at the border area and involve nationals from Guatemala, I am going to yield the response to come from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. So there is not much that we will say.”

 

It is expected that Tirgeros will be charged for wildlife poaching, illegal trafficking of endangered species and illegal entry into Belize and a protected area. Duane Moody for News Five.


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