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May 31, 2007

PACT Challenge kicks off on Saturday

Story PictureOn Saturday, the much anticipated 2007 Pact Challenge gets underway. Fifteen challengers will be participating in what has been described as a gruelling but educational expedition. The event, organised by the Protected Areas Conservation Trust, will be held from June second to sixth. According to PACT’s executive director Valdemar Andrade, the idea of the challenge is to highlight awareness of areas in need of enhanced protection. Two years ago attention was given to the Chiquibul Forest Reserve where it was discovered that a number of illegal activities including Xate harvesting, hunting, and archaeological looting were taking place. As a result of the findings, enough money was raised to provide improved management of the area.

This year’s challengers, divided into three teams, will be spending much of their time in the water: diving, snorkelling collecting data, patrolling, and experiencing the reality involved in the daily management of our marine protected areas.

Valdemar Andrade, Executive Director, PACT
“We have to ensure a lot of safety for the challengers. There are fifteen official challengers: one team from U.B., one team from B.D.F., and one team from Sea Sports are going to participating. And then we have for each challenger we have a support so we have five people who are going to support the team of five, so it’s thirty participants, plus the support crews making sure that all the equipment is okay, making sure we have food supply, enough protein, enough carbohydrates, enough hydration and also all the safety, so we have BATSUB on stand by in case anything. We have a doctor, we have a lot of help in terms of medical assistance from BATSUB as well.

“They are going to tag conch, go tag lobster, go on patrolling, they are going to snorkel the reef, these pristine reefs. And most people will say, these guys live on Halfmoon Caye, they have life sweet, but they have to clean trails under harsh conditions. Sometimes they are out there and hurricane is coming down the road, they have illegal fishermen who may be equipped with weapons that they have to deal with. And so these guys are going to get involved at looking at all these issues. They also have to fundraise.”

Of course the lucky challengers will be rewarded for all the hard work … as stars of a television documentary to be broadcast later in the year. The PACT Challenge launches with a ceremony this Saturday at the Pelican Beach Resort in Dangriga.

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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