The Friends for Conservation (FCD) has also sounded the alarm against illegal cattle ranches. An obscene amount of illegal areas was discovered along the western border, likely the doings of Guatemalan poachers. According to a release from FCD, more than 80 pastures were found, which shows a spike in the last five years. Rafael Manzanero, Executive Director, also told us the FCD’s recommendations to remedy this issue.
Rafael Manzanero, Executive Director, FCD: “Yeah the cattle ranching has been one that we have basically been reporting for over the last four years more constant although as you can see in the statement that we gave, we started really to look at this for quite some time but it was not something of a major threat. I think in 2006/2007 we certainly were documenting agricultural encroachment in terms of farming for black beans, corn and the pumpkin. Well what we have been seeing more recently is a trend where those are as are being abandoned out and of agricultural fields and particularly now is the conversion of that land into pastures which is now being more aligned to cattle ranching. Well for sure like anything else we believe that the authorities would need to go in, verify and once it is confirmed that those farms are within Belizean territory which we basically have already been able to validate that from our own I think the government would reckon that they would want to involve the OAS. But even if the OAS is able to verify those then the point is what do we do next? Well the next step is truly to destroy those fences to get rid of those cattle, they would just be roaming around and more than likely they will just return to where their owners are which would be in Guatemalan territory because all of this is happening right along the adjacency zone.”