Our protected area managers and rangers are on the front line of protecting Belize’s natural resources for the benefit of Belizeans – both present and future generations. They uphold national laws such as the Fisheries Act, Wildlife Protection Act and specific rules for each protected area under the National Protected Area System Act.
Regular patrols on land and water prevent illegal fishing, poaching, logging and mangrove clearance. Rangers remove illegal equipment, such as gillnets, check fishing and hunting licences, inform people of the laws and, when necessary, make arrests.
Cutting edge technology like the new Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool, referred to as SMART, aid our rangers in planning and conducting the most efficient patrols. This system was successfully implemented in Port Honduras Marine Reserve in 2015 and will be introduced to our terrestrial program in 2016.
The rangers are qualified Special Constables, trained in law enforcement – everything from evidence gathering and how to conduct a proper arrest to case file preparation and court procedures. Case files are delivered to the Prosecuting Officer of the Belize Fisheries or Forest Departments in preparation for the trial.
A ranger’s job is tough. They hike long hours through the bush and patrol at sea, day and night, whatever the weather. And they deal with poachers who are not always very friendly and often armed. Thanks to their tireless work though, the Maya Mountain Marine Corridor is still blessed with abundant wildlife and natural resources.