October 26, 2021

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British Army protects big cats in Belize

British Army protects big cats in Belize
The British Army Training Support Unit Belize (BATSUB) and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) have joined forces with conservation charity Panthera to monitor and protect endangered wildlife as part of a three-year programme to ensure essential military training does not disturb local habitats. Cameras set up to photograph the wild animals in the jungle were…

The British Army Training Assistance Unit Belize (BATSUB) and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) have actually signed up with forces with preservation charity Panthera to keep an eye on and protect threatened wildlife as part of a three-year programme to guarantee vital military training does not interrupt regional environments.

Cameras established to picture the wild animals in the jungle were ruined in fires this summer. New cams were purchased to continue the valuable work, capturing stunning images of unusual animals in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserves – a 430 square-kilometre location approximately four times the size of Paris.

The Army’s and DIO’s unique, extensive knowledge of the terrain suggested they could set up the cameras in remote and undiscovered parts of the jungle, revealing the previously unseen motions of huge cats and other wildlife in their natural habitats.

A big cat walks through the dark jungle.

The rare images reveal lions, jaguars and ocelots in the heart of the Belize jungle.

Their work has validated training has little influence on animal roaming patterns and rather found the existence of workers in the Belize jungle hindered unlawful poaching and logging – making it a more secure location for exotic wildlife such as monkeys, jaguars and tapirs.

Defence Minister Jeremy Quin stated:

The commitment and team effort between British Army Training Support Unit Belize, Defence Facilities Organisation and Panthera shows the varied and far-reaching advantages of UK armed forces operating all over the world.

This is another example of the resourcefulness of our armed forces and their partners: their efforts have revealed the preservation advantages of our Belize jungle training.

Panthera is dedicated to the research and preservation of big cats, with a ₤14 million research study program in areas across Asia, the Americas and Africa.

Panthera Lead Research Biologist Emma Sanchez stated:

I wish to thank British Army Training Assistance System Belize and Defence Infrastructure Organisation on behalf of Panthera for providing the exceptionally helpful replacements of the damaged cam units to our job.

We value the relation with British Army Training Assistance Unit Belize, as an example of how a crucial worldwide stakeholder collaborates with the Belizean preservation neighborhood and federal government of Belize in a shared duty and sustainable usage of protected areas.

BATSUB has existed in Belize because 1994, although training paused in 2010 prior to rebooting in2016 Since then, BATSUB has made significant contributions to securing the environment through tracking wildlife, planting trees and collecting data.

In 2019, using cash from the ₤400,000 DIO Overseas Stewardship Fund, BATSUB, the DIO and the Belize Defence Force, personnel and households planted 200 trees of 18 various species in Cost Barracks.

The year prior to, BATSUB planted local fruit-bearing types, such as mango, craboou, soursop and custard apple in the Manatee Forest Reserve. These trees were planted to support indigenous black howler monkeys and spider monkeys.

BATSUB leader Lieutenant Colonel Simon Nichols MBE stated:

We take our ecological duties really seriously and we strive to ensure that our training is carried out in accordance with the strictest Host Country ecological policies and in tandem with our coworkers in the DoE, Forestry Department, Panthera, FCD and the many other ecological stakeholders, who work in assistance of environmental conservation.

We are proud to be able to state that we have actually planted over 200 trees in Belize in the last 12 months, supported the Forestry Department in the recording of damage brought on by the most recent wildfires, using our Air travel possessions, in addition to interrupting prohibited hunting, logging, gold-panning and narcotics-trafficking by our large existence out in the jungle.

DIO senior ecological consultant Richard Snow said:

Our relationship with the Belize Government Departments, land owners and NGOs could not be stronger. We have worked together to understand the ecological significance of each jungle training area to the finest information, and have actually collaboratively established probably the highest ecological standards for variety management that the British Army uses throughout the world.

Operating under a memorandum of understanding and the declaration of forces agreement, BATSUB has a licence to train as much as 3,750 personnel annually.

The training takes place throughout a network of government and privately-owned land, alongside the BDF and other foreign forces.

BATSUB jungle training is unforeseeable and tough. The environment offers soldiers the opportunity to train in a challenging surface and an austere environment, equipping them with transferrable skills for other environments and operations.

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