How the British Army Helps Conserve Belize’s Big Cats

If you’ve ever visited Belize, you may have seen members of BATSUB before—whether doing volunteer work or here to train in the jungle. BATSUB, the British Army Training Support Unit Belize, and Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) have joined forces with local conservation charity Panthera-Belize to protect Belize’s wild cats. In a press release by the UK Government, the British army unit helps to monitor and protect endangered wildlife as part of a three-year programme to ensure their military training does not disturb local habitats. Not only has training had little to no impact on animal roaming patterns, but their presence has deterred illegal poaching and logging, making it a safer place for wildlife.

Big Cat Monitoring in the Belizean Jungle

Cameras set up to photograph the wild animals in the jungle were destroyed in fires this summer. But new cameras were purchased to continue the valuable work, capturing stunning images of rare animals in the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve. Fun fact: the 430 square-kilometre area is roughly four times the size of Paris. The Army’s and DIO’s unique, in-depth knowledge of the terrain meant they could set up the cameras in remote and unexplored parts of the jungle, uncovering the previously unseen movements of big cats and other wildlife in their natural habitats.

Panthera & BATSUB

“This is another example of the resourcefulness of our armed forces and their partners: their efforts have shown the conservation benefits of our Belize jungle training.”

– Defence Minister Jeremy Quin 

Panthera is dedicated to the research and conservation of big cats, with a £14 million research programme in locations across Asia, the Americas and Africa. Lead Research Biologist Emma Sanchez of Panthera-Belize also shared the following:

“I want to thank BATSUB and DIO on behalf of Panthera for providing the extremely useful replacements of the damaged camera units to our project. We value [their] relation, as an example of how an important international stakeholder collaborates with the Belizean conservation community and government of Belize in a shared responsibility and sustainable use of protected areas.”

Read the original press release here. Header photo courtesy Panthera/BATSUB

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