The Magic of the Chiquibul Telethon
In 2013 one of our wildest dreams was to have 18 park rangers in place at FCD. The Park Manager, Derric Chan, being a vociferous leader, repeatedly made it known that to cover the range and to have a more impact oriented enforcement program it was vital to have more rangers. But the limiting Factor was the finance. Then there came the idea of a Chiquibul Telethon; an idea put into effect by the Friends of the Chiquibul, led by Mrs. Valerie Smith.
The event brought out people from all different walks of life. The media gave an astounding elevated platform to the actual situation of Chiquibul and the Friends of Chiquibul came out in great glamore. Volunteers from various institutions rallied behind us with one single objective, namely to get the cohort of Chiquibul Rangers, badly needed to safeguard the natural and cultural resource of the Chiquibul Forest.
The result was an exceptional success. By November of 2014, out of over 115 applicants to the job, the next set of Park Rangers were screened and hired. Thus began a new era for FCD. The training was intensive and the rangers were subjected to first aid, natural history, ropes, tactical interventions and skills at arms. In the end 12 new rangers joined the 6 senior rangers. Since then the park rangers are deployed into the remotest areas of the Chiquibul and our presence is now felt throughout the Chiquibul Forest, where these rangers operate closely with the personnel of the Belize Defence Force and the Special Patrol Unit of the Police Department.
FCD remains grateful to the Friends of the Chiquibul and all those individuals and companies who assisted financially to make our dreams come true. The challenge is now keeping this robust team of rangers in the long term.