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UB ERI is an Organizer of the 6th NRM Symposium

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The ERI recently partnered with the Belize Chapter of the Meso-American Society for Biology and Conservation (MSBC) and the Belize Wildlife Conservation Network to host the 6th Annual NRM Symposium. The 2-day symposium was held on the 22nd & 23rd of March at the University of Belize’s Central Campus in Belmopan. The theme for this year’s symposium: “Conservation through Cooperation: Practical Approaches for the Management of Natural Resources in Belize” was focused on making visible the extent of collaborative work in natural resources management in Belize.

Keynote speaker, Dr. Elma Kay of the ERI spoke on “Partnerships for Conservation and Sound Natural Resources Management in Belize: The ERI experience”. Here she talked about the work the ERI has been doing to meet its mission of building national scientific capacity for the effective management, sustainable use and conservation of Belize’s natural resources. She particularly focused on the work the ERI has been doing in collaboration with both international and local partners, including wildlife research in the Central Belize Corridor, the development of the University’s Master’s program in Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Development and the development of a National Training Program for Protected Areas Management.

Other ERI presenters at the symposium included: Dr. Arlenie Perez (ERI Marine Research Fellow) who presented on the “Socioeconomic Assessment of the Sea Cucumber Fishery in Belize”, Dr. Bart Harmsen (ERI Panthera Jaguar Research Fellow) who presented on the “Resilience of the Central Belize Corridor”, and Said Gutierrez (ERI Wildlife Biologist) who presented on the “Movement Patterns of Paca (Cuniculus paca) in a human dominated landscape: Preliminary analysis from Central Belize”. In addition, Dr. Rebecca Foster of Panthera, who has an office at the ERI, presented on the “Long-term spatial dynamics of jaguars in the Cockscomb Basin”.

Closing Remarks for the symposium were given by Mr. Santos Chicas, UB lecturer and President of the MSBC Belize Chapter. In these he thanked Dr. Elma Kay for her work as past President, maintaining a successful MSBC Belize Chapter and making his transition into the post a smooth one. The ERI has been very involved in the MSBC over the years with several of its staff being active members including Denver Cayetano, Said Gutierrez and Dr. Leandra Cho-Ricketts who are current members of the executive. Starting in 2010, this now makes it three years that the ERI has been collaborating with the MSBC to host the annual symposium.

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