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Dec 9, 2021

Grants for Monkey Bay and Community Baboon Sanctuaries

The Belize Nature Conservation Foundation has awarded two conservation organizations grants amounting to seventy four thousand dollars. The handing over ceremony was held this morning at the Guanacaste National Park in Belmopan. News Five’s Paul Lopez filed the following report.


Paul Lopez, Reporting

Two environmental conservation agencies received grants from the Belize Nature Conservation Foundation, to continue the work they are doing in their respective fields.


Ellon Miller

Ellon Miller, Chairman, Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

“It is a pleasure to be here with you this morning. My name is Ellon Miller and I am the Chairman of Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. First of all I would like to thank everyone at PACT and BNCF for their hard work during the grant approval and selection process. I know we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you guys. Just excited for the opportunity.”


Jessie Young

Jessie Young, Community Baboon Sanctuary

“The project really for us is to strengthen the volunteer program of the Community Baboon Sanctuary so that we can build our capacity to implement our management plan, 2021/2026.”


The Community Baboon Sanctuary wome’s conservation group was founded in 1998. While the Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary was established in 1991. BNCF granted thirty-six thousand dollars to the Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary.  BNCF also gave thirty-eight thousand dollars to the Community Baboon Sanctuary.


Ellon Miller

“Monkey Bay was one of the first established, privately protected areas established in Belize. And, since that time our primary mission along with land management has been environmental education for both Belizean students and students visiting abroad. We have poured a lot of energy into that mission over the years, and as a result we have kind of just taken a back seat, well the land management portions of our activities have just taken a secondary role. But, as time has gone on we have noticed more and more threat and need for having a concise management plan for our sanctuary.”


Jessie Young

“The activities of the project would be to renovate the volunteer house that we have there so that we can bring in the volunteers we really need to build the capacity of the CBS. We are also going to conduct a market assessment of the entire Belize River Valley Area, including Rancho Dolores Wildlife Sanctuary, because we have learnt a lesson from COVID. So, it cannot be that we depend on tourism alone. So, we need to conduct this market assessment to see what is marketable in the Belize River Valley, so we can diversify from being solely dependent on tourism.”


The Belize Nature Conservation Fund was established under a debt-for-nature swap signed in 2001 under the Tropical Forest Conservation Act agreement with the US Government. Originally referred to as the PACT Foundation, BNCF manages an endowment of close to three million dollars. Amanda Acosta, Chairman of BNCF, explained that the funds allocated to these projects derive from the interest of the endowment.


Amanda Acosta

Amanda Acosta, Chairman, BNCF

The Tropical Forest Agreement in the act, it actually goes to the congress every year. A congressional report is produced and sent to our representative in the US. The US Embassy is a part of the oversight committee actually, as is the Nature Conservancy and a couple NGOs. It has a very robust reporting mechanism. The four benefices of this debt for nature swap back in 2001, we report on the deliverables, what we have done with the interest. Again, it is the interest. So, for the Belize Conservation Foundation, the interest for this year, it varies annually, and it amounted to the funds that were allocated today, plus some management fees that has to be paid for project management.


Up to thirty grants have been closed under the project. PACT continues to support the foundation as partners in the management of its small grant program.


Nayari Diaz-Perez

Nayari Diaz-Perez, Executive Director, PACT

“We will continue supporting the work of public protected areas, and private protected areas, like the two private protected areas that we are serving today. And we will continue with the vision that that the Foundation will remain a key partner in the conservation financing landscape in Belize.”


Reporting For News Five, I am Paul Lopez.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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