The Nature Conservancy and other green conservation groups in April purchased a biodiversity hotspot, helping to secure a vital wildlife corridor in Belize. The newly named Belize Maya Forest is part of 150,000 sq km (38 million acres) of tropical forest across Mexico, Belize and Guatemala known as the Selva Maya, a biodiversity hotspot and home to five species of wild cat (jaguars, margay, ocelot, jaguarundi and puma), spider monkeys, howler monkeys and hundreds of bird species.
Combined with the adjacent Rio Bravo Reserve, the Belize Maya Forest creates a protected area that covers 9% of Belize’s landmass, a critical area in the Selva Maya forest region, helping secure a vital wildlife corridor across northern Guatemala, southern Mexico and Belize.
In fact, Belize has launched several initiatives in recent years to protect its natural resources. In 2018, oil drilling off its coast was banned to safeguard marine environments and the lucrative diving industry. Nearly 40% of the country’s land mass is also under some form of protection. Belizeans have an incredible connection to nature, and refer to their country as the ‘jewel’.