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Protection

As defined in our Management Plan the Protection  Programme plays a critical role in maintaining the biological health of  the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area.  Several threats have  been identified which include hunting, timber theft, incursion involving  marijuana field cultivations,  hardwood and pine savannah forest fires.   Programme for Belize has implemented a multi-pronged approach in  addressing the major threats outlined which include patrolling, entry  controls, passive protection and changing public perceptions.

Patrolling activities include rotational  work carried out by the rangers conducting frequent trips in and around  the Rio Bravo.  Patrolling activities provide pre-deterrent mechanisms  due to the visibility of the rangers as well as post-deterrent mechanism  subsequent to any intervention that is carried out.  Rangers patrol the  boundary lines on a monthly basis and frequent more troublesome  locations known for illegal activity.  Quarterly over-flights have been  integrated into the patrols to cover areas not accessed by  vehicles/personnel frequently in order to conduct monitor and  reconnaissance.  Where necessary the rangers engage the support of the  local authorities to assist in the detaining and prosecuting of those  caught pursuing illegal activities on the RBCMA.  The rangers have been  trained as special constables and receive first aid training in order to  carry out these activities.  They also be extension support the  management activities by undertaking boundary line clearing, road and  bridge maintenance, other monitoring exercises, partaking in research  activities and assisting in fire management activities.

Three main access gates leading into the  property from major roadways are manned on a daily basis by the rangers.   These include the North Gate on the Gallon Jug Road, the Bergens Gate  on the San Felipe Road and East Gate on the Rancho Dolores Road.  All  gates have accommodating facilities and communication equipment used to  maintain daily contact with the Hill Bank Field Station and La Milpa Ecolodge and Research Center.   Vehicles entering and leaving the property are checked and cleared based  on common agreements with the neighboring properties of Gallon Jug and  Yalbac.

Passive protection occurs in those areas  where a physical management presence has not been established such as  the field stations and entry gates but is assumed to be targeted by  trespassers due to the low activity levels.  It is assumed that  activities such as timber extraction in these areas and other buffer  zone allowed activities would contribute to a reduction in the level of  incursions and serve a dual purpose.