Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2018. 9:04 AM. CST.
By BBN Staff: The Wildlife Conservation Charity World Land Trust (WLT) has launched an urgent campaign to save jungle habitat in Belize threatened by deforestation.
According to the WLT, they are working with a local partner organisation, the Corozal Sustainable Future Initiative (CSFI) who manage two reserves in northern Belize that provide an important section of a habitat corridor for wildlife.
The WLT release notes that more than 25,000 acres of forest has been lost in the region over the last ten years and says that without urgent intervention, this corridor is in danger of being broken.
“Jungle for Jaguars aims to raise £600,000 for CSFI to purchase and protect 8,154 acres within the corridor which would otherwise face clearance for agriculture. Protecting this area will ensure connectivity in a shrinking wild landscape for a population of at least 22 jaguars. This habitat is also home to four other cat species (Puma, Jaguarundi, Margay and Ocelot) and other endangered mammals include Baird’s Tapir and Geoffroy’s Spider Monkey. Many bird species will also be protected including the Keel-billed Toucan, Ornate Hawk-eagle, Black Catbird, Keel-billed Toucan and rare species of hummingbirds,” the release states.
John Burton, CEO of World Land Trust, says “This is one of our most ambitious projects to date, as securing this corridor requires cooperation all the way from a local level to governmental and international support. A successful outcome has the potential to lead to an important model for conservation in Central America going forward.
“This project has historical significance for WLT as well, as the Trust was founded to protect another area of critically threatened tropical forest in northern Belize which was facing the same threats 30 years ago. This land, now protected by our partner Programme for Belize, covers 262,000 acres of natural habitat which would otherwise have been lost. Deforestation for agriculture is just as urgent a threat today as it was in 1989, and saving land to save species is still one of the best ways to ensure a future for wildlife.”
Heron Moreno, Executive Director of CSFI, is hopeful that creating a biological corridor through the Jungle for Jaguars appeal can pave the way for similar initiatives to connect protected areas across Belize.
He says “Creating this corridor is important, not only for connectivity, but also because it will serve as a model that we can use in other parts of the country. By putting wildlife conservation firmly in the spotlight will have an opportunity for it to become a national priority. If we succeed, it will act as a trigger to get things going at a national level.”
All donations to the Jungle for Jaguars appeal will be doubled by match funds during the charity’s Big Match Fortnight, between 3-17 October 2018.
For more information about the project and how to donate online, please visit: worldlandtrust.org/jungleforjaguars.
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