Campaign Letters

May 2001 Campaign Letter

May 1, 2001

Dear Friend of Probe International:

I am writing to ask you to help save wildlife in Belize, Central America, from a proposed hydroelectric dam that would destroy one of the world’s last remaining unspoiled tropical habitats.

Belize is one of the jewels of the Americas. It is precious because of its rich natural heritage, as well as its human heritage. My wife Birgit and I have been there twice with our family and we were delighted with the abundance of wildlife and the pristine quality of much of the countryside. Because of the large number of mindful people who live there, it has the opportunity of being a beacon of beauty and biodiversity for the rest of the world to emulate for centuries to come.

Although I have not travelled the Macal River, I have viewed it from a high hill. I have friends who have navigated it and they raved about its wild riches. Even the thought of the destruction of this valley, through the building of a dam, shows a shocking insensitivity to the precious qualities of that region. The Chalillo dam would flood almost 1,000 hectares, which presently provides winter homes for many of the birds we see in summer, such as the wood thrush and the endangered Acadian flycatcher. The area is also home to the jaguar and to endangered species such as the scarlet macaw, tapir, South American river otter and the Morelet’s crocodile.

We have lost far, far too many species already. I don’t believe we have the right to make these irreversible choices for our children and grandchildren.

Probe International, an organization I have long supported, first became involved in opposing the dam more than a year ago. Unbelievably, the dam proposal is actually backed by the Canadian government and a large Canadian company. Naturally, when environmentalists in Belize asked Probe for help they couldn’t say no, and neither could I.

Please join me now in supporting Probe International in its efforts to protect this world-class habitat.


Robert Bateman


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