Cherese and Kristy ppt

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Published on October 22, 2007

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Exploring the Success of Wildlife Conservation in Belize:  Exploring the Success of Wildlife Conservation in Belize By Cherese Sullivan, Animal Bioscience, B.S. candidate and Kristy McPherson, Animal Science, B.S. candidate The Pennsylvania State University 2004 Exploring the Success of Wildlife Conservation in Belize By Cherese Sullivan, Animal Bioscience and Kristy McPherson, Animal Science The Pennsylvania State University 2004 Why We Chose This Topic::  Why We Chose This Topic: Our interests in wildlife and background in Animal Sciences led us to pursue wildlife conservation as a research topic. Focuses of research were: Conservation Initiatives Education and Awareness Keel-Billed Toucan Background:  Background As a whole, due to widespread deforestation and other factors Central America’s wildlife has been increasingly threatened, with many species approaching extinction. However, the country of Belize appears to be an exception to the current trend. Tapir Slide4:  Though Belize is a small country, it is currently home to a rich and diverse fauna of wildlife occupying a variety of ecological habitats. Several factors have contributed to the preservation and protection of wildlife in Belize Background cont. Underdevelopment of Land:  Underdevelopment of Land Belize is well-known for playing a key role in wildlife conservation amidst the decimation of land in the Central American region 65% of Central America’s land has been deforested 70% of Belize’s land remains untouched (primary forest) 45% of land in Belize is legally protected Land cont.:  Land cont. Belize’s wildlife benefits in the fact that much of the land is non-arable and not suitable for agricultural use Karst topography (limestone) Mountains, streams, and other natural barriers Government Regulation:  Government Regulation Various Government Agencies play apart in the development of wildlife regulations in Belize. History dates wildlife regulations in Belize back to the 1940’s. Some regulations include: 1981 Wildlife Protection Act – provides for the conservation of wildlife 1981 National Parks Systems Act – provides for preservation of natural and cultural features 1981 Land Use Act – regulates the usage of land 1992 Environmental Protection Act – provides environmental authority to address modern environmental problems and issues Non-Governmental Organizations:  Non-Governmental Organizations Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) play a large role in wildlife conservation efforts. Belize Zoo Audubon Society Programme for Belize, TIDE, etc. These organizations are mostly funded by foreign donors and private establishments. European Union PACT Education and Awareness:  Education and Awareness The majority of the general public is knowledgeable about wildlife and conservation efforts. Although we found that Belizeans in the rural areas seemed to be more aware than those who live in more urban areas. Education and Awareness cont.:  Education and Awareness cont. Educational programs are in place at various primary and secondary schools throughout the country which are run primarily by NGOs. School Visits Science Fairs Earth Day Field trips Awareness cont.:  Awareness cont. The Mayan and Garifuna have a long history of coexisting with wildlife and living off of the land. As a result of Belize’s cultural history, many Belizeans have a sense of personal and national pride for the country’s wildlife. Buffer communities surround many of Belize’s national parks. Many of these residents are either directly involved with the maintenance of these parks or use the lands surrounding lands for sustenance agriculture. Conservation Efforts to Protect Endangered and Threatened Species:  Conservation Efforts to Protect Endangered and Threatened Species Belize Zoo History – Founded in 1982 by Sharon Matola. She was an animal caretaker working on a documentary (“Amante”- The Fig Tree) in Belize and did not want to see the animals destroyed. She obtained the rights to the land and started what is now known as the Belize Zoo. Animals within Zoo Are NOT taken from the wild Are born within the zoo Come from other zoos Confiscated by the government Have been injured There are currently two species conservation projects being run by the Belize Zoo. Harpy Eagle Project:  Harpy Eagle Project The Harpy Eagle is the largest eagle in the world. Its territory ranges from Mexico to Argentina. Population has been decimated throughout Central America. Panama developed a breeding program that was successful. March 2003, a breeding program was established in Belize. 5 eagles donated from Panama (4 for release, 1 for education – blind in one eye) A protected area has been selected for release around Orange Walk. People from the surrounding community will be trained as Bird Guides. Scarlet Macaw Project:  Scarlet Macaw Project Research has been conducted about Scarlet Macaws at the Belize Zoo for the past 5-8 years. The Belize Zoo is the base for the “Macaws Without Borders” group, a group of researchers for scarlet macaws in the region It is believed that much of the population was diminished as a result of the pet trade. However in 1996, a new population of over 100 birds was discovered near the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. Threats to Wildlife Conservation in Belize:  Threats to Wildlife Conservation in Belize Habitat Destruction Industrial development Farming industry (mostly fruit) Pollution (pesticide, waste) Hunting/Human Persecution Black Market Meat Pelts Fear Tourism Cruise ship tourism is greatest potential threat What can be done to Ensure Continued Success of Wildlife Conservation in Belize?:  What can be done to Ensure Continued Success of Wildlife Conservation in Belize? There is a great need for native Belizeans to be involved in areas of wildlife research in this country. Foreign researchers generate data and never return it to Belize for reference and enhancement of conservation efforts There is an existing demand for researchers that have completed higher levels of education. (Bachelor’s, Master’s, Ph.D) New partnerships and expansion of existing relationships between University of Belize students and wildlife organizations would be beneficial to both students and conservation initiatives Ensuring Wildlife Conservation cont…:  Ensuring Wildlife Conservation cont… Continue to build upon relationships between wildlife organizations and natives in rural areas by forming non-partisan committees to allocate ownership of land for sustenance hunting and farming. Development of research on the impact of cruise ship tourism on wildlife conservation in Belize. Looking toward the Future……:  Looking toward the Future…… The future of wildlife conservation in Belize appears promising. Regulations are being developed on a consistent basis. Much of the history of legislature follows suit of more developed counties, such as the U.S. (due to funding regulations). This has a large impact on the quality of conservation initiatives. Education and career development initiatives are in place in areas of wildlife conservation. Conservation efforts to protect endangered and threatened species have proved successful. Remember…:  Remember… Though the burden of wildlife conservation is a global responsibility, it begins at a local level! Understanding the success of wildlife conservation in Belize may allow other countries to utilize similar strategies to protect living resources. Slide20:  Questions? Blue Hole

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