Minister Flies Over the Central Belize Corridor with ERI Staff
On Monday April 23rd, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, the Honorable Lisel Alamilla accompanied ERI’s Administrative Director, Dr. Elma Kay and ERI Panthera Jaguar Fellow in Wildlife Conservation, Dr. Bart Harmsen, on an overflight of the Central Belize Corridor (CBC). The overflight was provided courtesy of Lighthawk and provided an excellent opportunity to brief the new Minister on the wildlife research being conducted by ERI and our partner organization, Panthera as well as efforts and strategies to secure the CBC in the long term.
The plane initially followed the meander of the Belize River and we were able to see the agricultural developments, several concentrated near the various communities within and buffering the CBC. In some agricultural areas a forest buffer separates the cleared land from the river but there were also several areas where the riparian forests have been damaged and erosion was taking place. The flight also allowed us to take a close look at the new Labouring Creek Jaguar Wildlife Sanctuary and the Minister was clearly able to see the illegal milpa and structures located within the Sanctuary. Damage from Hurricane Richard (October 2010) and subsequent fires was clearly visible throughout the corridor with only a few stretches of forest looking lush and less damaged by fire. The Minister was able to observe the areas along the highway where forest remains on either side allowing for animals to cross the highway. At the end of the flight Minister Alamilla expressed that she was glad to have taken the time out to fly over the CBC.