How can you use law and government in conservation work? Come meet Heron Moreno and find out in his lecture!
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Wednesday, October 4, 2023
Marinus Ruppert building, room Ruppert-D
University of Utrecht, Leuvenlaan 21, 3584 CE
On 4th of October, Heron Moreno came to Utrecht to speak about nature protection in Belize. Heron is the executive director at the Corozal Sustainable Future Initiative (CSFI) and manager of the Shipstern nature reserve in the north of Belize. He started his lecture with a short introduction on the country of Belize and its colonial history. This colonial history unfortunately drives many of the current threats to the ecosystem of Belize today. The main biodiversity threats Belize is facing are illegal logging and poaching. Heron explained the driving factors of these illegal practices, such as the large demand for hard wood or simply to protect cattle from predators. Locals living within the Shipstern nature reserve are allowed to fish and hunt to feed their families, but outsiders are not. The Mennonites, a strict religious group living similar to the Amish, are often found logging illegally in the reserve. Heron explained that working with them is often very difficult and can sometimes even be dangerous. This can make conservation work very difficult at times.
The CSFI terrain forms an important corridor for nature in Belize, and has been recognized as such by the Belizean government. This facilitates a good working relationship with the government in regards to implementation of the law in the area. CSFI works together with the government regarding training and giving advice. Furthermore, CSFI is allowed to perform arrests on their own terrain, for which they follow police and military training. Their arresting power is only effective within CSFI terrain. If perpetrators go beyond the border, they are not allowed to chase or act anymore. There are plans to expand the nature corridor by buying up more land, but buying it from private owners is often difficult.
CSFI also has a large focus on education. They give advice and work together with similar organisations regarding education. Some of their rangers are also offered extra schooling on research methods. CSFI have their own kids club in the nature reserve to educate kids on the importance of nature conservation Next to education, there is a lot of research going on within the reserve on many different species. One project puts GPS collars on jaguars to help mitigate human-wildlife conflict by relocating conflict animals.
After the lecture, there was time for a Q&A. Heron was happy to answer any questions, and expressed he was glad to be able to talk about his work with students, since he recognizes that young people are the future for nature conservation.
By Samantha Mager
Heron Moreno is coming to the Netherlands from Belize (Central America) he will give a fascinating and very exciting lecture at the University of Utrecht on the subject of laws and government! Heron is director at ship stern (csfi) where they work to preserve the natural environment of Belize within their reserve.
Sign up for the event! We hope to see you come to meet Heron Morene on this interesting night! We start at 19.00!