A group of Belizeans went to Sarstoon Island without being harassed by Guatemalan Armed Forces or the Belize Coast Guard. Over the weekend, Wil Maheia of the Belize Territorial Volunteers led members of the Belize Bird Conservancy to Sarstoon Island for a bird inventory exercise. Maheia says they went early to avoid the Guatemalan Armed Forces.
Will Maheia, Belize Territorial Volunteers
“We spent a total of 88 minutes on the island – which is probably almost more than the coast guard when the Guatemala came to move them from the island but to be fair that we got there early so I don’t even think the Guatemalan Armed Forces knew that we were coming. We were not stopped by the BDF when we got there, no one was even on the dock; we got there just as the sun was rising. We left Punta Gorda early because there were birders and if you know them they wanted to really get a good solid scientific count and that is why we left so early. If you look at tourism and that is something that we are promoting. Birding now surpasses sports fishing in terms of bringing in foreign income into this country and basically universally so that’s an industry and the number of birds in that areas it’s so high it could attract a lot of tourism and hence maybe that is another reason why Guatemala has an eye on it because the area is so beautiful and so biologically diverse and so rich that it could bring in millions and millions of dollars into the south much more than oil and I can guarantee that.”
Maheia says they identified 56 species of birds living on the island.