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Guatemalan Trespassers Caught in the Chiquibul Forest

Two Guatemalan men were captured early yesterday morning in the Chiquibul Forest. Forty year old Victor Aldana Lopez and twenty seven year old Antonio Ramirez were detained by FCD park rangers who believe the men are macaw poachers-guaqueros. There was a third man, believe to be the leader of the group, who was able to slip into the forest and escape.  FCD believes the men trekked to the breathing grounds of the macaws this past Monday and were planning to stay until this coming Saturday. With them, the men had 2 long ropes and spurs used to climb the trees. Young macaw chicks are sold for as much as one thousand five hundred quetzals which is about four hundred and fifty Belize dollars. Lopez and Ramirez were taken to the San Ignacio Police Station pending charges by the Forest Department and Immigration Department.  Lopez had been detained and charged three years ago for extracting xate leaves, and is known to have been in the group conducting illegal gold panning a few weeks ago in the south of the Chiquibul. FCD is reporting that while other birds are also targeted by poachers, macaws are on the top of the list due to the high price. The young macaw chicks are fed and grown in the border communities and then taken to towns such as Poptun and Dolores for sale.