By Alexis R. Milan, Staff Reporter
The Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD) telethon held Saturday to raise funds to increase the number of FCD rangers in the Chiquibul reserve raised over $320,000.
According to Valerie Woods, FCD volunteer and telethon organizer, the government pledged $120,000, which will cover the cost of five rangers. FCD also received another $200,000 in pledges but Woods said they also received donations via phone and internet pledges so the final figures wouldn’t be in until later in the week when they collect these donations.
Woods said that their goal was to raise $500,000, which would allow the FCD to have 24 park rangers in the Chquibul Forest Reserve. Currently the FCD only has seven rangers.
Woods said the telethon was also a medium to create awareness about the issues rangers face in the Chiquibul Reserve where a wide variety of illegal activities ranging from illegal cultivation of corn and other crops, illegal logging, gold panning, marijuana cultivation, and xate extraction are being committed by Guatemalan nationals.
The telethon was held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Belize Telemedia Limited and Smart provided phone and Internet services taking pledges.