If you watch the news with any regularity, you’ll know all about The Friends for Conservation and Development – the co-managers of the Chiquibul National Park. Well, they recently concluded a five month study examining the effects of poaching on game species in the Chiquibul Forest, mainly a 384 kilometer swath in the Caracol Archaeological Reserve.
They wanted to find out how many game species were in the area and how plentiful they were, and – most importantly - to gauge the impact that illegal hunting was having on those species.
They came across 1,022 animals of 24 different species, including squirrels, quash, collared peccary, crested guans, and keel billed toucans. They found that game species were being targeted throughout the Chiquibul forest, in areas both near to and far from the border. They also found that hunters have quote, “been targeting large bodied species, leading to a severe reduction on abundance of targeted species and have begun to target smaller individuals as well as non-traditional game species such as the keel billed toucan.” The report concludes that Guatemalan xateros and poachers have been penetrating deeper and deeper into forest and “they pose the highest threat to the population of species.” Poaching is a lucrative commercial pursuit and as proof of this, Guatemalan nationals were detained with up to 15 game birds – these include the Great Curassow, Crested Guan and Ocellated Turkey. They also found that juvenile game species such as this baby Tapir are being extracted for the illegal pet trade.
And after seeing all this despoiling of National Park, their recommendation is that law enforcement elements be increased to counteract the illegal xate extraction, expansion of the human footprint and illegal logging.