Looking For Help In Conservation

Rafael Manzanero and the Friends for Conservation have become household names while doing their work to raise awareness about the Chiquibul National Park - and the many pressures it faces.

Well, Manzanero is going to Taiwan, hoping to attract support from NGO's over there to assist the FCD in trying to protect the Chiquibul's endangered scarlet macaw population. He was in Belize City today to work on his Taiwanese Visa, and the media caught up with him:

Rafael Manzanero, Executive Director, FCD
"The idea is really to present more about our work and we are also trying to do the protection of the Scarlet Macaws and I would want to present that and see if there would be any NGOs over there that might be interested in supporting the protection of the Macaws here in Belize."

Reporter
"At this time, what's the status in relation to the number of Scarlet Macaws that remain in the area, if you've done that type of survey?"

Rafael Manzanero, Executive Director, FCD
"Over the years we only know that there are 100 pairs of Macaws that are left in Belize. We have not really done a comprehensive study for quite some years. It is rather difficult because of the mountains to see if the same population that we see across the Cayo area is the same like in the Toledo District, so we do require a lot of footwork in terms of counting the full population, but we consider that the numbers are still relatively small."

Reporter
"Obviously, in terms of your trip, perhaps any type of assistance that you would get, would be to assist in that sense as well."

Rafael Manzanero, Executive Director, FCD
"I would hope that they would be able to support a particular specie. I know that there is a program that they have in terms of endangered species, but that's a program worldwide and so the crossing my fingers that they might be able to support us."

He leaves next week for one week in Taiwan. And in other news related to the FCD, all pledges made at the Chiquibul Telethon held in October of last year have been collected. This translates to 327 thousand dollars.

Manzanero says that over 100 persons have sent in applications to become new FCD rangers, and the selection process has been completed. The new rangers are being trained right now.

Channel 7


Manzanero Seeks Assistance in Scarlet Macaw Conservation

Rafael Manzanero

Like we said, Manzanero is a tireless advocate, and one of his passions is the protection of scarlet macaws, the majestic birds whose population in Belize remains at risk. In fact, next week Manzanero is heading off to Taiwan to solicit assistance for the plight of the macaws.

Rafael Manzanero, Executive Director, FCD

“The idea is really to present more about our work and we’re also trying to do a protection of the scarlet macaws and I would like to present that work and see if there would be any N.G.O.s over there that would be interested in supporting the protection of the macaws here in Belize. Over the years, we only know that there are one hundred pairs of macaws that are left in Belize. We have not really done a comprehensive study for quite some years. It is rather difficult because of the mountains to see if the same population that we see across in the Cayo area is the same as in Toledo. So we do require a lot of footwork in counting the full population. But we consider that the numbers are still relatively small.  I would hope that they would be able to support that particular specie. I know that there is a program that they have in terms of endangered species. But that’s a program worldwide. And so the idea is, crossing my fingers, that they would be able to us.”

The scarlet macaws are exotic birds that fetch high prices in the illegal pet-trade market. 

FCD Exec Says Chiquibul is Quiet

It’s been some time since we’ve received an update on movements, local and illegal, within the Chiquibul. Late last year we talked about nothing but that after Special Constable Danny Conorquie was gunned down by Guatemalans at the Caracol Archaeological Site. His death galvanized stakeholders, and tonight we are happy to report that the positive movement continues. Today we spoke to Executive Director of Friends for Conservation and Development Rafael Manzanero, who has been a tireless advocate for more attention on and presence in the Chiquibul.

Rafael Manzanero, Executive Director, FCD

“The Valentin observation post is already up and that was built inside of the Caracol Archaeological Reserve, where for quite some weeks now there has been a presence from the Belize Defence force and the Police, so that is already operational. The other two…a lot of groundwork has been done in terms of finding the right location for these particular two conservation posts. The Government of Belize since last year has already approved the construction of those, but it has been rather difficult to find water in those areas which is really the essential part, so we have had to go two, three times to look at these locations along with the B.D.F. to identify where best to put these particular buildings. I would hope with the dry weather coming in now we will be able to finalize that particular phase of the work.  I think that the presence of the B.D.F. would seem to have done a lot of positive work in the area. Certainly in the Caracol area there has been a lot of movement of security into the zone. We are preparing right now to launch patrols from the ranger side to go into some of the most remote areas of the Chiquibul. We have not been really active over the past couple weeks because of the training program and because of the screening for the new rangers, but from what we have gathered it would seem that the forest is quiet for now.”

Manzanero says that apart from the enhanced presence of the military, it is possible that the new agreements between Belize and Guatemala have something to do with what seems to be reduced illegal traffic coming in from Guatemala.

Channel 5