This is from about a year back.
Cayo Frances didn't make the list at the time but its the same technique of acquisition that put these in jeopardy.
From Green Peace"I am requesting that, quickly following the election on February 7, those to whom this letter is addressed take such action as is necessary to accomplish the following:
1. Protect the Bird Cayes.
The Bird Cayes, natural resources of direct economic benefit to the people of Ambergris Caye and many other parts of Belize, are apparently being sold for development.
These tiny cayes west of Ambergris Caye derive their common name from the huge population of resident and migratory water and land birds that feed, nest and roost there. The birds provide a continuous supply of nutrients (guano) to the mangrove habitats that protect the young of numerous marine species and thus benefit the fishing industry.
Among the many interesting features of the Bird Cayes are the well-known bonefish flat near Los Salones, an important breeding area for the roseate spoonbill and the largest known nesting colony of reddish egrets in Belize and possibly the entire Caribbean.
Two of the Bird Cayes are within the boundaries of Corozal Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. Another three are included in the Little Guana and Los Salones Cayes Bird Sanctuaries, originally designated as protected Crown Reserve bird sanctuaries in 1977. Since 1999, the Government of Belize has been “considering” a formal proposal for bird sanctuary status for the remaining Bird Cayes, along with the wetlands and lagoons on western Ambergris Caye that are the primary feeding ground for many bird species of the Bird Cayes, Ambergris Caye, mainland Belize and the Yucatán Peninsula.
Just last week, I traveled to a few of the Bird Cayes on a trip organized by the San Pedro Business Association. Also on the trip were representatives of Ambergris Today, The San Pedro Sun and Hol Chan Marine Reserve. We saw and photographed the following:
• Cayo Punta Bajo has been cleared of mangroves. Survey pegs are firmly in place.
• Cayo Savannah has been cleared of all vegetation. Survey pegs are firmly in place.
• Little Guana, a Crown Reserve bird sanctuary, has been surveyed. Survey pegs in the water suggest plans for dredging and landfill.
• Cayo Iguana has been surveyed and is now being cleared of mangroves. The Guatemalans doing the clearing said they didn’t know the identity of the owner or the development plans, but named the person who hired and paid them—a prominent San Pedro business man believed by many to be a champion of tourism.
Whether other Bird Cayes have been sold, surveyed or cleared I don’t know.
Does the sale and destruction of the Bird Cayes matter?
The Bird Cayes do matter to the people of Ambergris Caye and beyond. They matter to the birdwatchers, sport fishermen, naturalists and ecotourists who come to enjoy them. They matter to the tour guides who accompany and guide them. They matter to those who house the birdwatchers, sport fishermen and their families—hotels, condominiums, real estate management and development enterprises. They matter to the restaurants, street vendors and bars that refresh them; the shops and street vendors that cater to them; the taxis that drive them; the water taxis and airlines that bring them here. They matter to the families and employees of all those just mentioned. And, eventually, these natural resources matter to the rest of us.
Directly or indirectly, the Bird Cayes affect the livelihoods, property values and investment returns of everyone who lives, works, owns a business or has invested on Ambergris Caye."
Edited by elbert (12/18/09 12:20 PM)