Belize’s non-profit organization Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD) is stepping up to the plate and heading a national Telethon aimed at raising funds in support of the Park Rangers’ Program of the Chiquibul National Park. The Chiquibul Protection Telethon takes place this weekend, Saturday, October 18, at Memorial Park in Belize City.
For some time now Rafael Manzanero of Friends for Conservation and Development has been asking for much needed assistance for the co-management of the Chiquibul National Park. He has been trying to push much needed awareness about the encroachment of Guatemalans in the park who are helping themselves of the area’s natural resources.
The recent murder of Officer Danny Conorquie in the area had indeed brought new focus to the work of the FCD as Belizeans are asking government officials to do what they can to protect its borders and sovereignty. At a press conference, the organization launched a telethon to raise a half a million dollars to continue its work.
Co-managed by Friends of Conservation and Development, Chiquibul is part of the largest contiguous rainforest north of the Amazon. It is an area within the Cayo District covering 414 square miles and it is under constant threat by Guatemalan poachers. Lack of human resources is making the monitoring of the park difficult, with only seven rangers. Even with a recent grant of $600,000 from the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT), the FCD says it need half a million dollars to expand its staff of rangers.
The Chiquibul Forest is comprised of the Chiquibul National Park, Chiquibul Forest Reserve and the Caracol Archaeological Reserve. It is home to two of Belize’s unique tourism assets, namely the Caracol Mayan Site and Chiquibul Caverns, provides water to over 45% of Belize’s population, has the largest catchment area of rainfall which is essential to the provision and generation of electricity and is home to many wildlife species and plants including the tapir, jaguar, the scarlet macaw, the xate, mahogany and other exotic Belizean flora.
The cost to have a park ranger whose duty is to protect these natural and cultural resources is BZ$24,000 per annum. The Chiquibul Telethon in support of FCD Park Rangers is Saturday, October 18, 2014, at Memorial Park, Belize City. There are several ways the general public at home and abroad can donate and support:
• In person by going to the telethon and making the donation by cash or cheque Cheques should be written in name of FCD Telethon
• By phone - BTL Customers: Call 0-800-RANGERS to make your pledge or 501-223-4FCD for international calls
• By phone - SMART Post and Prepaid Customers: Call/ text your pledge to 651-6565 or 651-6724.
• By phone for SMART Prepaid customers only: Text the code for CARE (2273) and in body of the text state the dollar amount you are donating from your available credit balance and it will be deducted.
• Donate Online by visiting www.fcdbelize.org/donate
• E-mail Pledges to firstname.lastname@example.org to state your pledge.
• The FCD Telethon Bank Account is Atlantic Bank # 100249795
The telethon will be broadcasted live by the media (TV and radio) from 10 a.m. to 6p.m. Any queries or questions can be forwarded to email@example.com. The FCD thanks everyone for their continued support and their contributions that will help enhance the protection of the Chiquibul Forest.
The threats are severe and little known to the general public, until our recent incidents emphasized it again: Chiquibul and the organisations working for its protection urgently need your help! Please watch, share and take note of the date for the Chiquibul Telethon on the 18th of October.
Non-Goverment Organizations Joining Forces Across Borders!
FCD's environmental educator in Peten, Veronica Avila, met with representatives of Asociacion Balam, CONAP and the Commonwealth of Communities of South Peten and an agreement was signed to launch a Permanent Commission for Environmental Education for South Peten.
The intention is to work together across the four municipalities of south Peten (Melchor, Poptun, Dolores and San Luis) to educate the general population about the importance of the Chiquibul Ecosystem. This work will complement the FCD's public outreach on the Belize side of the Chiquibul ecosystem.
This work ties in directly with the bi-national environmental education under the umbrella of a bi-national action plan for the protection of the Chiquibul-Maya Mountains. The British Embassy provided funding for FCD's environmental educator in Guatemala!