A Joint Enforcement Unit for southern Chiquibul was formed with the launching of a new Ceibo Chico Conservation Post, which took place at Tapir Camp in the Chiquibul National Park on Wednesday, July 4.
Park rangers of the Friends for Conservation and Development will now patrol the forest along with personnel from the Belize Defence Force, the Police and Forest Departments to put a stop to illegal activities in the southern region of the Chiquibul forest.
The Minister of Forestry Lisel Alamilla gave the keynote address and unveiled the plaque commemorating the launching of the new post.
The BDF, the Police Department, the Forest Department and the Friends for Conservation and Development then signed the Ceibo Chico Protocol, which sets out standing operating procedures and specifies the role of each participating institution.
Ceibo Chico Conservation Post was created by Cabinet directive, to bolster enforcement in the Chiquibul Forest. It was established with funding from Protected Areas Conservation Trust (P.A.C.T.) and the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Support Programme for African, Caribbean and Pacific Countries.
Representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Security Council, the British High Commission, and P.A.C.T. also attended the ceremony.
Later that same day Minister Lisel Alamilla travelled to Las Cuevas Research Station. Here the Chief Forest Officer provided official authorization for Friends of Conservation and Development to administrate and manage a new research station, called the Las Cuevas Research Station.
The purpose of Las Cuevas Research Station is to document and make known the biodiversity of the Maya Forest and to contribute practical knowledge for its sustainable development and protection.
Las Cuevas is located in the Chiquibul Forest Reserve, some 15 kilometers away from FCD Ranger headquarters.
Friends for Conservation and Development expect to create a Las Cuevas Commission, comprised of several national and international partners, to help the FCD manage the station.