Conservation in Belize

Belize has very little in the way of mineral or other industrial resources and has consequently pushed the development of its eco-tourism very heavily in recent years. As a result, its commitment to wildlife and resource conservation is of an impressively high order and more than 40% of the country is under one form or another of legal or private protection. Funding for such protection is contributed to by the PACT (Protected Areas Conservation Trust) Tax of US$7-50 payable by all visitors on departure from Belize by land, sea or air.

Researchers such as myself who wish to collect wildlife specimens, even on private land, are only permitted to do so for scientific purposes and must apply well in advance to the Conservation Division of the Forestry Department (Ministry of Natural Resources) for a collecting permit, specifying what is to be collected and where. The address to apply to is: The Director, Conservation Division, Forest Department, Forest Drive, Belmopan, Belize, Central America. Tel.: +501 (0)8-22079. Fax.: +501 (0)8-22083. e-mail: Written permission must also be given by landowners where collecting is done and such permission must be shown to the conservation division before an export permit will be issued. If a collecting permit is authorised the researcher must pay a fee of US$100-00 for its issue. Export of all specimens is further governed by issue of export permits by the same agency. The latter are free but must itemise all specimens exported by number and name (where known). Collecting in certain totally protected areas - such as the Bladen Nature Reserve - and export of certain protected species is totally prohibited.

Belize is home to numerous conservation and wildlife organisations, of which a few of the larger ones include:

Programme For Belize
Belize Audubon Society
Wildlife Conservation Society
Belize Zoo
Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT)


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