Work by the environmental police division of the National Gendarmerie has translated into a 94% decline in illegal logging in the winter habitat of the monarch butterfly, says the acting CEO of the Mexico office of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
Jorge Eduardo Rickards Campbell explained that the favorable figures are the result of a program called Environmental Mission, implemented by Conanp, the Natural Protected Areas Commission, and the environmental police.
Rickards was speaking at an event marking the third anniversary of the National Gendarmerie, part of the Federal Police. The Gendarmerie’s environmental division, which was formed later, now has 1,000 officers, many of whom have been deployed to the forest areas where the monarch butterflies spend their winters after flying from Canada and the United States.
The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve covers more than 56,259 hectares, 13,552 of which are considered the core zone where priority wintering forests for the butterflies are located.
Between May 2016 and February 2017, it was reported, 15.8 hectares within the core zone sustained damage: 13.8 hectares of trees fell during strong winds, 1.35 hectares were affected by drought but only 0.65 hectares were lost to illegal logging.
It was through the intervention of the environmental police, which started last year, that illegal logging has been all but eradicated in the 16 national protected areas where it has been deployed, said Conanp, including the one dedicated to the monarch butterfly and others located in Calakmul, Campeche, and in the Upper Sea of Cortés.
During this first year of collaboration between the Federal Police and Conanp, 15 hectares of invaded wooded areas have been recovered in the Sumidero Canyon National Park in Chiapas.
Close to 4,000 cubic meters of timber illegally obtained from several natural protected areas were recovered during the same period, and 78 arrests and seizures were made.
The environmental police force now has a presence in more than 60 natural protected areas, said Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Rafael Pacchiano Alamán.