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.