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Illegal Loggers Busted in Rural Belize

APAMO is reporting major illegal logging activities in the Mayflower Bocawina National Park and Sittee Forest Reserve. A release from the Association of Protected Areas Management Organization says that in May, Park Rangers of the Mayflower Bocawina National Park uncovered a major illegal logging operation. More than forty precious trees were fallen and prepared for extraction. The 40 illegal logs were never removed and as the days went by, the logs, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, began to be stolen. So who’s to blame? Senior Reporter Hipolito Novelo reports.

Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News: Four months ago in mid-May a major illegal logging operation was discovered in the Mayflower Bocawina National Park and the Sittee River Forest Reserve. Authorities discovered different types of precious wood already cut and prepared for transport.

Kenny Cal, Manager, Mayflower Bocawina National Park: “Including Santa Maria Mahogany, Nargusta, Emery and that we had liaised with ENVIO on that instance and we had made detention, the people were arrested. Within the Barquedier  from that same logging incident there was approximately forty three logs in that area, huge logs we’re talking about mahogany, Nargusta, Santa Maria and Emery and they are like almost the same amount within the national park and it’s surrounding were just cut and left there. Because of our encounter they didn’t have the time to pull it to the Barquedier.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News: Mayflower Bocawina National Park Manager, Kenny Cal says that in the Barquedier there exist the vulnerability of theft. Recommendations to secure the precious wood were given to the Forest Department because failure to do so would result in the logs being stolen. 

Kenny Cal, Manager, Mayflower Bocawina National Park: What we had anticipated is exactly what has happened. On three different occasions when the park rangers of Mayflower Bocawina National Park during their surveillance have reported that there have been constant theft of logs within that area.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News: And as recently as Tuesday, September 7th, park rangers went on a clandestine operation within the National Park and saw 6 men loading 3 Mahogany logs onto a trailer from the barquedier.

Kenny Cal, Manager, Mayflower Bocawina National Park: “Out of the six people we had one minor and a corporal and a former employee of the forest department along with three others from Hope Creek and Armenia. 

Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News: The six persons were arrested and process- however- only three of them were charged for the crime. Cal is calling on government authorities to work with APAMO, the ASSOCIATION OF PROTECTED AREAS MANAGEMENT 

ORGANIZATIONS and co-managers to protect the resources of these areas that have a lot of value. And the logs that were found are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

Kenny Cal, Manager, Mayflower Bocawina National Park: “We think that the regular relevant authorities in particular the Forest Department should take the necessary measures to ensure that efforts from surveillance and enforcement be undertaken by protected areas managers be taken very seriously.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News: What would be the value of the logs that you guys found ? 

Kenny Cal, Manager, Mayflower Bocawina National Park: “Well again like I said the logs that were in the barquedier was of forty three I think is hundreds of thousands in value. I cannot say a specific amount and I think that the Forestry Department has their procedures now to calculate that but these logs are very massive.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News: So hundreds of thousands of dollars right ? 

Kenny Cal, Manager, Mayflower Bocawina National Park: “Yes.”