By BBN Staff: Renowned photographer, Tony Rath, posted a time lapse video on social media this week, emphasizing the need for better protection of Belize’s flora and fauna by showing immense deforestation in Guatemala.
The 31-second video showed a vast area in Guatemala, that lies next to the Chiquibul Forest Reserve, which lost a significant portion of its rainforest during the period 1985-2016, due to deforestation.
“Most of the deforestation has taken place in the last decade. We desperately need to secure our borders before Belize and the Chiquibul look like Guatemala,” Rath said.
Apart from deforesting their own country, Guatemalans, have been constantly coming into Belizean territory, committing a host of illegal activities. The issue on illegal loggers, poachers, and even drug planters has been the subject of various news items and international meetings for decades; however the situation has escalated over the past 10 years.
Friends of Conservation and Development, the non-governmental organization that co-manages the Chiquibul forest reserve, estimated that between 1985 and 2015 illegal Guatemalan loggers cleared more than 5,744 hectares (57.44 square kilometers) from out of the reserve.
Apart from illegal logging, Guatemalans also threaten the biodiversity of the area by hunting wild game, and capturing scarlet macaws, as well as conducting illegal gold panning.
The Governments of Belize and Guatemala have an arrangement where a joint team from both countries should patrol the area, however the agreement has yet to be successfully implemented.
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