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SATIIM and BDF collaborate to recover illegally harvested timber

A few weeks ago, headlines were dominated by an interaction between the Guatemalan Armed Forces and the Belize Territorial Volunteers as the BTV, along with SATIIM, attempted to travel up the Sarstoon River to Black Creek. They were trying to recover timber from Santa Maria trees that poachers had illegally cut down in the Sarstoon Temash National Park. While that mission failed, and the BTV were forced to back down, SATIIM was able to successfully make the trip after all on August 3. According to a press released from SATIIM, they had received reports from July 11 on the illegal harvest of 1030 thousand board-feet of Santa Maria wood carved out of the National Park. The release details the first trip, on July 23, in which members of GAF told the SATIIM patrol that, quote, “The Sarstoon River belongs to Guatemala.” End quote. The patrol was then unable to continue their trip. Additionally, GAF attempted to capsize the patrol boat, which later broke down. On this second trip, however, SATIIM and members of the Belize Defense Force collaborated in order to recover the stolen timber. This recovery trip, according to the release, went smoothly and without Guatemalan interference. The full amount of timber could not be recovered due to the difficult terrain, but the trip was still considered a success. The remaining timber, about 50%, was destroyed to prevent it from being used. The release ends by saying the suspected poachers are believed to be non-Belizeans.

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