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#464593 - 05/18/13 11:15 AM Connecting Landscapes across the Belize Corridor
Marty Offline

A Task Force to look at developing the Conservation Action Plan (CAP) for the Central Belize Corridor was launched at the “The Best Little Zoo in the World,” The Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center, at mile 29 on the George Price Highway on May 9th, 2012.

A biological corridor is an area of habitat connecting wildlife populations separated by human activities such as roads and agricultural activity. This allows an exchange of individuals between populations, which may help prevent some negative biological effects.

According to Doctor Rebecca Foster, the Director of the Jaguar Program for Panthera in Belize and who is now contributing to the CAP, some of these negative effects include the lack of genetic variability among species. Fragmented populations in species lead to fertility issues and a general reduction of resistance to diseases along with other problems.

“But beyond that, other problems can happen from wildlife populations being isolated, for example if a small population is very isolated and gets wiped out by natural disaster like a hurricane, a fire or flood or by disease then animals can’t get to repopulate the area so that area is effectively dead now, there are no animals there and no way to re-colonize it…”

The Central Belize Corridor is now an area that represents the largest gap in our terrestrial protected areas system since it links two large forest blocks the Rio Bravo, Gallon Jug and Yalbac Area with the Maya Mountains in the South. Experts now believe that the Central Biological Corridor represents one of the last viable connections linking the entire Selva Maya Forest of Mexico, Belize and Guatemala and thus the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor.

Being derived from the Central Biological Corridor is a range of benefits to all flora and fauna and the human species. This corridor is the home and means of sustenance for game animals, the tapir, jaguar and the puma. It is also the source of sustenance for residents from some sixteen villages living in and around the corridor that uses the forest to hunt and obtain firewood. Intermixed with all of this is the sense of awe that visiting tourists gain from the rich wildlife and natural beauty within the Central Biological Corridor. But most essentially, the forest along the Belize River keeps the water therein clean, providing ample water for the entire Belize River Valley and Belize City.

All of this could be at risk if current trends continue in the Central Biological Corridor.

“…All the data that has been collected for Belize recently in terms of forest cover and how fast we are losing forest cover indicates that probably within a decade we are to lose this corridor,” states Doctor Elma Kay, who is the Terrestrial Science Director from the Environmental Research Institute (ERI) at the University of Belize.

The ERI has for the last three years been conducting scientific studies in the Central Biological Corridor on the movement of animals and size of their populations. More studies will be done by the (ERI) on the levels of extraction and what are sustainable levels within regions that also now serve as an agricultural belt. Caldia Buth, a Ph. D student from Virginia Tech in the U.S, has also done some work examining the genetic flow of all cat species within this area and other parts of Belize. All the data collected so far indicates that species from the Northern forest blocks of Belize need to continue interbreeding with the Southern ones.

It is for this and many other reasons that the Government of Belize took a step in July 2010 to recognize the importance of corridor connectivity by declaring the Laboring Creek Jaguar Corridor a Wildlife Sanctuary.

“My Ministry subscribes to ensuring that we have preventative samples of our ecosystem within our protected area system and there is genetic flow of both flora and fauna within and among the units of the system we have established,” stated Lisel Alamilla, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, at the launching of CAP last week Thursday.

For this genetic flow to continue into the future, members of the CAP team will now be visiting various areas of the Central Biological Corridor in an attempt to get multi stakeholder support for the corridor. It is a process whose time has come and Doctor Wendel Parham, Chief Executive Officer within the Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development did not hesitate to share his thoughts on the important cross-road.

“This to me is a great step of trying to bring together a multi-stakeholder group to look at focusing on this corridor so that we can bring some balance to what is happening and to maintain the all important corridor”, he says.

That means bringing large land owners, agriculturalists, conservation groups together for a common cause for which Parham tells The Guardian that “…there is a lot of interest to collaborate.”

Thus; the CAP Team hopes to have five to eight consultations within the Central Biological Corridor. In the coming months, the CAP Team intends to make a series of presentations within the various communities so that those communities can be involved in picking or nominating representatives who can then be part of the national consultations. These representatives, will then set the targets for the plan within the Corridor as well as the strategies to be able to conserve those targets.

Both international and national partnerships have now made a first step in an attempt to safeguard Belize’s multiple life forms for future generation to come. The launching of the Conservation Action Plan for the Central Biological Corridor would also not have been possible without the input from the Deutshe Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbelt or the German Corporation Agency GIZ (www.giz.de) working in cooperation with the University of Belize, the Forest Department and the Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center.

The Guardian


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#465722 - 06/02/13 06:36 AM Re: Connecting Landscapes across the Belize Corridor [Re: Marty]
Bear Offline
Yet they will stand by as a sugar compnay cuts a swath of an irrigation canal through the middle of a freshly dedicated jaguar and wildlife corridor so desginated as to provide and avoid the kind of issues being discussed above.

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#465750 - 06/02/13 02:18 PM Re: Connecting Landscapes across the Belize Corridor [Re: Marty]
Katie Valk Offline
Yeah, sad, but hard to trump their prioritizing jobs and investment over preservation. I started that arguement with them and backed off.
_________________________
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www.belize-trips.com
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#465772 - 06/03/13 03:27 AM Re: Connecting Landscapes across the Belize Corridor [Re: Marty]
Bear Offline
Choosing one's battles...I note that Panthera has not given up hope..Howard probably gritted his teeth and said get back in the ring boys...IMO had the perpetrator sought advice I'm sure Panthera would have been able to show them ways to mitigate the project and maintain a large part of the corridors effectiveness...I was so pissed at the Mayor of Bienque V's response... there are always mitigations.

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#465920 - 06/05/13 12:03 PM Re: Connecting Landscapes across the Belize Corridor [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Belize's Central Wildlife Corridor

Thousands of people are admiring the beautiful billboard located along the Western Highway which broadcasts the Wildlife Corridor of Central Belize. The stunning photo of the margay cat, a resident of these important lands, was taken by photographer Carol Farneti-Foster. Carol, along with her photo assistant at times, niece Aleacia Jensen, kindly agreed to be a part of this photograph. Both are big fans of the Corridor concept and of course, they love one of the special places found within the Wildlife Corridor, The Belize Zoo!


On the opposite side of the billboard is an attractive painting showing the Wildlife Corridor, and this was provided by long-time Belizean resident artist, Carolyn Carr. Both images reflect the beauty and the importance of these remaining wild lands in Belize.

If it were not for the Wildlife Corridor, there would be no Jabiru stork breeding going on in the neighborhood. Our Jabirus have a great affection for the savanna lands within the Corridor, and this small population of magnificent birds is being supported by the Central Wildlife Corridor.

Recently, two of our resident Jaguars, living happily in our Problem Jaguar Rehabilitation off-exhibit area, have been calling. They have an unmistakable loud, hoarse grunting vocalization. To our surprise, we have heard response calls coming from south of The Belize Zoo! Somewhere, within the Wildlife Corridor surrounding our animal kingdom, lives a wild Jaguar who is in communication with our zoo residents!

Uncommon and rare species of animals depend on these lands to keep on keepin’ on in Belize. Besides Jaguars and Jabiru, other animals call the Wildlife Corridor home, too. The not-so-common Savanna Vulture, or Yellow-headed vulture, enjoys living in this area. While we always associate john crows with eating dead and decaying meat, or carrion, these graceful-flying birds have been observed eating palm fruits!

We can’t dismiss our stately National Animal from the Wildlife Corridor line up. The Central American tapir, an endangered species, finds lots of food to eat and places to swim within these lands. Our celebrity tapir, Tambo, was born in the Central Wildlife Corridor. Although his fate was to not be a tapir-in-the wild, Tambo’s origins show us the important role these lands play in order to keep our mountain cows thriving in Belize.

The Belize Forest Department and their many partners, are continuing to put much effort into seeing that the Central Belize Wildlife Corridor maintains its integrity, supporting the conservation of the many plants and animals who call this vital landscape, home sweet home.

Belize Zoo Newsletter


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#466278 - 06/10/13 05:44 AM Re: Connecting Landscapes across the Belize Corridor [Re: Marty]
Bear Offline
sarcastically speaking apparently the sugar companies are big supporters as well...a brand new canal right up the middle...

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