Title: The Belize Zooletter
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Title: The Belize Zooletter
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: Belize National Library Service and Information System (BNLSIS)
Publisher: Belize National Library Service and Information System (BNLSIS)
Place of Publication: Belize
Publication Date: June 2009
Copyright Date: 2009
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*The Belize Zooletter

June 2009


April the Tapir is 26!


It was 26 years ago when the baby tapir was
brought to the original zoo. She was barely
alive! The culprit; the still striped-and-
spotted young mountain cow was severely
infested with screw worms.

Back in 1983, Belize was weakened by
these "wicked worms". Voracious
parasites, they would find their way into the
bodies of animals, both domestic and our
Belizeans wildlife. The result was usually
death!

"April" was brought to Sharon Matola,
nearly dead, 26 Aprils ago! The Belize Zoo
was just getting started, but Sharon put all
things aside and concentrated on saving the
little Mountain Cow's life. The key to her
"revival" was a steady diet of banana
milkshakes, full of vitamins and
medications. "April" happily became a
member of the new zoo! During those early
days, she lived and roamed in the backyard,
coming eagerly up to any visitor for a pet
under the chin and a banana.

Because of her friendly nature, Sharon saw
the potential of having "April" get people
excited about our National Animal. "April"
the Tapir's first birthday party was the zoo's
very first big event, in April 1984. Due to
the newness of it all, only a handful of
people showed up. However, all had a fun
day, and it was the beginning of an annual
event that has brought a spotlight upon


"April", as all tapirs!!

The Central American Tapir is an
endangered species. Making people feel
happy about these gentle beasts, works to
see that their future is more secure. Today,
"April" the tapir's birthday party is attended
by hundreds! One year, the "Tapir-Bash"
was filmed for CNN news! And this year,
Belize's favorite Mountain Cow turns 26 and
like always, kids from different primary
schools came out to sing her birthday song
and offer well wishes. The Democracia
Gibnuts rock n rolled "April" with "The
Mountain Cow Song" as she munched on
her special made birthday cake.



We are in awe: It's a Baby
Macaw!


The Belize Zoo became happily overwhelmed in
mid-May when the residents Scarlet Macaws
hatched three healthy babies! The parents were
bred in captivity about a decade ago. From the
start of their love affair, it was clear that they
were clueless about the process of Macaw-
Mating..
Scarlet Macaws nest high off the ground, and
the loving pair was provided with a four-star
nest-box. But a high-rise honeymoon suite was
not to their liking. These two raucous red
parrots chose, instead, to nest on the ground.
TBZ keepers were frantic at their nest choice.
Possums and foxes were possible unwelcome
visitors, putting the birds and their eggs, at high








June 2009 THE BELIZE ZOOLETTER PAGE 2


risk. This happened during a time of
unseasonable wet weather, and a drenched
nest would easily result in a "no hatch
situation". But the Big Reds insisted that it
would be on-the-ground or no love nest at all
for them.

We did our very best to counter-act their risky
nesting regime, and our efforts worked! Mid-
May was a special spring event, when three
Scarlet Macaws hatched! Due to Mom and Dad
not knowing how to raise young, the babies
were carefully taken and put under the care of
TBZ keeper staff. Every two hours they were
fed a baby bird formula, and tending to the
birds on "Macaw Night Watch" turned TBZ staff
into first class Scarlet Macaw infant caregivers.
Day by day, the featherless tiny birds gained
weight, and have grown to love their zookeeper
buddies.

In the wild, the nestlings will remain in the nest
for 3 months. After that, Mom and Dad Macaw
will urge them to fledge, and then teach them
the ways of being a wild Scarlet Macaw.
Breeding these rare birds in captivity is not
difficult. Seeing them return to the wild is not
possible, because they do not know the
necessary survival strategies for a safe existence
"out there".

Our baby Scarlet Macaws will eventually be
joining Mom and Dad in their home roomy
enclosure located at the entrance of The Belize
Zoo. Since they have been lovingly raised by
TBZ keeper staff, the young macaws will enjoy
the company of all upcoming human admirers.
We haven't named them as yet! But their
names will reflect how very special they are to
TBZ, and to Belize!



From the Director...


Spring sprang forward with one important
event following another here at the zoo. This
summary will bring to you the latest updates


which are all involved in positive change!

Fallet Young, with the initial help received from
Dr. Rob Horwich back in the 1980's, was the
fuel behind one of Belize's most important
conservation engines: The Community Baboon
Sanctuary. Located in Burrell Boom, Fallet and
Horwich worked with the community to see
that the forests under private land ownership
remained standing, in order to support the local
populations of Black Howler Monkeys. The
Community Baboon Sanctuary, CBS, grew to be
an important conservation role-model, and has
proven to be successful in seeing that these
special primates have a place, forever, to call
home. Thousands, from both in Belize and
outside our borders, have visited the CBS,
taking away a memorable experience. Those of
us who knew and worked with Fallet, mourn his
passing. He left us on 9 April, after a valiant
battle with cancer.

Fallet's wife Jessie, and son, Colin, are
establishing a Memorial Scholarship Fund in
Fallet's name. This will be used to provide
school assistance to young Belizeans living in
the Belize River Valley, encouraging future
"Protectors of Nature" in honor and memory of
Fallet Young. Here is the Tribute to a man who
was a gift to us all.....
The White Howler Singers- Fallet Young Howler
Monkeys
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Zyk2ZXgfVA)



In Early April, Alan Rabinowitz, the first person
to study Jaguar ecology in Belize, and author of
the popular book, JAGUAR, returned. Alan now
heads up a "cat-focused" conservation
organization called Panthera, and they put
extreme effort in trying to save the world's
remaining big cats from extinction. His visit
included two important events. First, Alan gave
a presentation in the nearby village of La
Democracia. Located in the heart of the Central
Jaguar Corridor, the folks in this village play a
key role in seeing that Jaguars, still remaining in
the area, are given their "rights to roam" minus


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June 2009 THE BELIZE ZOOLETTER PAGE 3


persecution....an imperative concept! Hon.
Minister Michael Hutchinson was the Guest of
Honour, and many turned out to hear Alan and
to meet Omar Figueroa, a Belizean researcher
currently studying Jaguars

The conservation organization LIGHTHAWK was
present that day, and flew University of Belize
professor, Dr. Elma Kay, La Democracia Village's
Arita Wiltshire, and Belize Zoo Education
Director, Celso Poot, over the Jaguar Corridor.
And of course, in honor of the day's events, the
LA DEMOCRACIA GIBNUTS sang a special
JAGUAR SONG for the Minister and for Alan!!

As part of his exciting week, Alan, along with
Panthera's Howard Quigley, Hon. Deputy Prime
Minister and Minister of Natural Resources,
Gaspar Vega, Minister of State, Michael
Hutchinson, Wildlife Officer, George Hanson, his
often-times jaguar-consultant, Humberto
Wohlers, and Jaguar researcher, Omar Figueroa,
flew over the Central Jaguar Corridor and then
around Victoria Peak in the Cockscomb Basin
Wildlife Sanctuary. Following that, their
helicopter, provided by conservation heroes,
British Forces Belize landed on the established
HLS G219....This site is just over a half-day's
walk south of Victoria Peak and all received an
"on-ground" Jaguar Jungle perspective from
Alan, Omar, and Howard. A lot was learned!
The Ministers were proud of the efforts being
made by researchers who study the cats and
the organizations (Belize Audubon Society, The
Belize Zoo, Friends of Conservation and
Development, Programme for Belize) who
direct their time and energies into Jaguar
protection. Happy moods captivated the day's
dynamic events! Humberto Wohlers gathered
interviews from everyone which I later edited
for worldwide broadcast on the BBC "UP ALL
NIGHT" program.

Maya naturalist and Guide, Greg Sho, presented
Minister Vega with a photograph of a Jaguar,
taken by Carol Foster, and then gave a slate
carving of a Jaguar to Alan.

Thanks to Anne Kok, who hails from Denmark,


landmark progress has been made in the
bringing of important messages about wildlife
conservation into the Mennonite community of
Blue Creek. Anne lived in Blue Creek years ago,
writing about their interesting history and social
structure for a Master's degree thesis based out
of the University of Amsterdam. Returning, she
focused her education work around the Jaguar
and the Harpy Eagle. Early April saw Blue Creek
community members, and Anne, visit the zoo to
"meet and greet" our Jaguars and of course!!
PANAMA the Harpy Eagle!



Iguana Mama Calls Belize

Zoo Home


No, The Belize Zoo does not have an
"official enclosure" home for the beloved
Green Iguana. However, walking down the
shaded pathways usually provides the
opportunity to see one of these gentle
lizards stalking about. Spot a big orangey-
brown iguana? That, for sure, is a male.
The females are always green and much
smaller than their male counterparts.

Our zoo resident Green Iguanas share food
daily with the Tapirs and the Deer, and
none of the involved parties show signs of
conflict with this eating strategy! This
spring, somewhere on zoo grounds, a gravid
female laid her eggs. The months of March
and April are key times for females to lay
their eggs in Belize. They prefer sandy
areas because it allows them to dig out
their "nursery-nesting-niche". The eggs
hatch in late May or June, and out crawl
miniature Green Iguanas, ready for life in
Belize.

A clutch of iguana eggs can easily number
over 50 eggs! This high number, however,
does not ensure that all will survive once


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June 2009 THE BELIZE ZOOLETTER PAGE 4


they do hatch. Iguana eggs themselves
have a mountain of hungry predators. A
troop of Coatimundis can easily bring a
nest-full of Green Iguana eggs to ground
zero! Once a nest of Green Iguana eggs
hatches, predation is still a large threat.
Birds-of-prey, wild cats, Tayras,
Coatimundis, Grey Fox..... The Green Iguana
Food-Fan Club list is a long one!

Green Iguanas eat only plants. They prefer
living near rivers. This habitat type provides
food, shelter, and sandy banks where they
can nest. Green Iguanas are good
swimmers, too. If one of these placid
lizards feels threatened, it will quickly dive
into the water, and, using its long tail as an
efficient "engine-rudder", swims swiftly
away from danger.

Sadly, numbers of Green Iguanas in Belize
are declining. This isn't the fault of the
hungry Coatimundi, it is our fault. People
still over-harvest Green Iguanas, especially
the gravid females. It is a popular belief
that eating iguana eggs provides more
sexual vigor for menfolk. This myth has led
to a consistent decrease in our Belizean
Green Iguanas. Then, add intense collecting
for the stewpot These combined practices
simply result in our having less and less
Green Iguanas. Hey! It doesn't taker a
Wizard to see that it's tough to be a
Lizard.....We are happy to offer a safe and
secure home for the Green Iguanas freely
roaming the grounds of The Belize Zoo!



Tarantula Time at the
Belize Zoo


The Mexican red-rumped tarantula is the
most common type of tarantula found in


Belize. And for many people, this is one of
the SCARIEST creatures which calls Belize
home, too!

But don't be scared! Tarantulas are shy and
timid spiders. They may have a "horror
movie" reputation, but in reality, tarantulas
only attack insects and very small animals,
so that they can eat and survive.

They are large, black, hairy spiders with
pretty red rumps, and their gangly eight
legs can bring about a few raised and
concerned eyebrows. But remember! They
are gentle by nature!

Think about this: We consider the
mosquito a mere nuisance in our lives, yet
these flying pesky insects gives us malaria
and yellow fever! Now THAT'S something
to be fearful of!

If you see a tarantula crossing one of our
roads, that would be a male, on the move.
The females are far more sedentary. And
the tarantula gals live much, much longer
than the males. While a male tarantula will
live 2-5 years, a female can live well over 10
years, and when she has youngsters, she
has over 15 in one hatching.

At The Belize Zoo, you can have an exciting
"spider experience"! Belize Zoo staff is
ready and waiting to introduce you to our
zoo tarantula, and all who have made the
acquaintance of "Tarantula Tom",
absolutely love it!



Green Wave is the Rave


What is the GREENWAVE? All over the
world, this environmental campaign is
unifying children everywhere in an effort to
appreciate the importance of biodiversity.


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June 2009 THE BELIZE ZOOLETTER PAGE 5


Simply stated, a healthy environment
equals a happy and healthier society, no
matter where that particular society is
based on planet earth.

There will be GREEN WAVE activities taking
place throughout every nation. Here in
Belize, events will be scheduled, leading up
to the important day of Friday 22 May. This
date has been formally designated as the
International Day for Biological Diversity.
To celebrate, children from east to west will
plant a tree, creating a "GREEN WAVE" of
ecological goodwill. What a great initiative!
And positioned to have such a positive
effect on our very own Mother Earth!

GREEN WAVE embraces the idea that this
simple, yet important action, will foster an
even greater appreciation and
understanding of conserving forests and
trees to protect global biological diversity.

The Belize Zoo, along with their nearby local
school, La Democracia Government School,
has joined the important GREEN WAVE. A
tree seedling was planted this past week,
and the children were all excited to be
"GREEN WAVERS" by doing this!!

What kind of tree was planted? Our
National Tree, of course! The mighty
Mahogany Tree. Later during the month of
June, the pre-schoolers will visit The Belize
Zoo and have a good look at the Mahogany
trees growing on zoo grounds. Just under
20 years old, they are tall, strong, and
beautiful symbols of our nation's wealth of
natural resources. The Belize Zoo has
promised the kids that a GREEN WAVE visit
to the zoo will also include a JAGUAR
JOURNEY, too!


Meet "Indy" the Baby


Mountain Cow


"Indy" wasn't born at the zoo, he was
brought from the southern village of
Independence by the Forest Department in
mid-June, and has quickly won the hearts of
the entire Belize Zoo staff.

A baby tapir, or "Mountain Cow",
resembles a gibnut. They are covered in
stripes and spots, and for the first few
weeks of their lives, truly are "gibnut-like"
in appearance. Their entire baby-spotted
coat takes an entire eight months to fade
away. Then they are left with a brown coat
which is a suitable "overcoat" for the rest of
their lives.

"Indy" should still be nursing with Mountain
Cow Mom, and while we do not know the
circumstances involved which led to his
arrival in Independence, TBZ staff has
readily taken up the important role of
"Nanny" to the little fellow. He eagerly
receives his bottle of milk and vitamins
three times every day, and receives a visit
during the evening hours, too, for his milk
and banana.

The routine favored by baby "Indy," is to be
fed his bottle and then to be "belly
scratched" until he rolls back and goes into
"Mountain Cow nap phase." He is one very
happy baby tapir!

Once "Indy" gets older, TBZ staff will
introduce him to the resident tapirs in the
zoo. In the wild, tapirs exist as solitary
animals. If they are ever viewed as pairs,
most likely it is the mother with a
youngster. The young remain with their
mothers for nearly two years before striking
out on their own into the tropical forests.

A definite habitat requirement for all tapirs


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June 2009 THE BELIZE ZOOLETTER PAGE 6


is to live near fresh water. Our National
Animal not only enjoys a swim, but each
day, when they feel the urge to "poop",
guess what? They absolutely have to do
this deed in fresh water! How does TBZ
address this need for little "Indy"? In his
temporary holding enclosure, there is a
small pond. And yes! "Indy" is quite fond
of his little pool and makes good use of it
every day.

Since "Indy" receives so much care and
attention, it is a sure thing that his arrival to
the main zoo grounds will see him in "fine
action" meeting and greeting all zoo visitors
who stop by.



Internship experiences


Katie Staples from Virginia Tech

I learned about the Belize Zoo and TEC
when I visited during a study abroad session
last summer. I am very interested in exotic
animal rehabilitation and so I saw working
here as a wonderful experience. I have a lot
more opportunities available to me here at
the Belize zoo than if I were back in the
States. My duties include preparing food,
cleaning pens, working with certain animals,
feeding and assisting the keepers. One
really exciting experience is working with
scarlet macaw hatchlings. They were only 2
weeks old when I arrived, and I'll be able to
watch them grow and see their feathers
developing. Other fun things include caring
for a baby howler monkey, a baby tapir
named Indy, and working with
kinkajous. This will definitely be six weeks I
will never forget.


Lindsey Daley from United Kingdom 2-
weeks internship

My adventure started off at the PoD
(Personal Overseas Development) website.
PoD is an agency in England that puts
people in contact with internship
placements worldwide. I spotted the
profile of "The Best Little Zoo in the World"
and next thing I knew I was on a 35 hours
journey to Belize. I have had little
experience working with animals but was
very willing to learn. The team here
provides top notch on the job training -it's
an extremely hands on experience! There
are countless opportunities to get up close
and personal with over 120 animals all
native to Belize. Pumas to peccary,
Margays to Macaws! If you have a passion
for animals and a thirst for adventure I
definitely recommend that you to get in
touch. Sharon and her team were very
welcoming!!

Jaguar Conservation and
Education


There has been a historic issue of a strong
lack of environmental education in the
Mennonite community of Blue Creek,
located in northwest Belize and a
community which borders on habitat vital
for supporting Jaguar populations.

To address this gap in education awareness,
TBZ has been working with Anne Kok, from
Denmark, and significant progress in
community outlook and approach to
Belizean wildlife, has occurred over the past
year. Anne, a few years ago, lived in the
Blue Creek Community to learn about their
interesting social structure and customs.
She speaks their language, and blended in
well with community life. Anne is viewed as


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June 2009 THE BELIZE ZOOLETTER PAGE 7


a Blue Creek community member.

Returning a few years later, Anne became
TBZ Environmental Education
representative in Blue Creek. She made
frequent visits to schools and gave lectures
and showed videos. She was instrumental
in fostering ardent interest within the entire
community, towards another top predator,
the Harpy Eagle. When a Harpy Eagle was
last brought to Rio Bravo Conservation
Management Area from the country of
Panama, for release, the Blue Creek High
School students named the bird and saw to
it that "Thor" safely left his flight cage for
his new life in the forests of Belize.

Another of Anne's primary aims was linking
with farmers to address the "Problem
Jaguar" issue which affects the Blue Creek
ranching sector. Better management of
livestock has been a current theme. The
ranchers have given agreement to the idea
of using certain techniques, such as
corralling of cattle, in order to reduce
Jaguar predation problems. The ranchers
who do use corrals, see the benefits of this
as a "security measure".

Anne was instrumental in saving a superior
Jaguar, known as "Rocky" He was a
repeated, verified cattle-killer. "Rocky" had
five cows to his dining-credit and finally,
this large, male Jaguar was trapped. What
was planned to follow was his being shot,
so that his cattle-predation days would
never happen again......Anne convinced the
ranchers to send "Rocky" to "Problem
Jaguar Rehab" at TBZ, rather than to end his
life.

The ranchers did just that. "Rocky" has
done well in "Rehab", and has been a
source of "Jaguar data" for researchers
studying various aspects of these great cats.


For example, "Rocky" has
massive size that a Belizean
become. He is the "record
weighing in at 165 pounds!


shown the
Jaguar can
contender',


TBZ, with the fine assistance of Panthera,
the organization focused upon saving great
cats from extinction, hosted a visit in April
from members of the Blue Creek
community. They enjoyed getting "close up
and personal" with our star education
Jaguar, "Junior Buddy", got good views of
our Harpy Eagles, and paid a visit to their
ex-Blue Creek Jaguar "bad-boy", "Rocky".
Everyone had a fantastic day, and TBZ looks
very much forward to continued
Environmental Education work in
collaboration with the Blue Creek
Community.



Life After "Last Flight"


Time moves on, and the one constant remains:
Change. Nearly five years has passed since the Privy
Council decision ruled 3-2 in favour of Fortis/Bel and
the Government of Belize to build the Chalillo Dam.
Since that time, and the subsequent publication of
Bruce Barcott's THE LAST FLIGHT OF THE SCARLET
MACAW, significant events, relative to the building
of the dam, and the publication of the book, have
occurred.
The two principal Belize Government leaders, Said
Musa, who served as Prime Minister during the time
of the Chalillo Dam battle, as well as Ralph Fonseca,
the former National Security and Housing Minister,
were charged in December 2008 with the theft of 10
million USD, from the people of Belize..
These are the same government Ministers who
supported the naming of Sharon Matola as an
"Enemy of the State", referring to her actions aimed
at halting the Chalillo Dam development scheme.
Charges were dropped against both Musa and
Fonseca. No clear explanation was given for this
legal decision. In March 09, Belmopan Magistrate,


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June 2009 THE BELIZE ZOOLETTER PAGE 8


Earl Jones ruled that Ralph Fonseca "did not have a
case to answer". The Director of Public
Prosecutions, DPP Cheryl-Lynn Branker-Taitt, stated
publicly that she was "disappointed in the ruling".

Since the Chalillo Dam has gone "on line", in 2006,
electricity prices have risen. A third dam is now
being constructed, more habitat is being destroyed.
Diesel fuel is still being bought from Mexico to
address the energy needs of Belize (a standard cry
from BEL/FORTIS was that the Chalillo Dam would
see Belize independent of foreign fuel purchase).

In a published article, The Reporter Press, July 09, it
was factually noted that Belize pays the highest
energy rates in all of Central America. Meanwhile,
Fortis, Inc, the parent company of the Belize
Electricity Company, BEL, reported an 83% profit in
2009. They attribute this to their Caribbean
electricity utilities, which include BEL.

The quality of the Macal River, due to the
construction and operation of the Chalillo Dam, has
decreased significantly. People who swim in the
river complain of "after-itch", and skin rashes. Some
people report that they no longer swim in the river,
due to its "post Chalillo" profile of decreased quality.
Many resorts located along or nearby the Macal
River have installed swimming pools so that their
guests will have a healthy option for bathing.
Unfortunately, for people living in villages along the
river, the "swimming pool alternative" does not
exist.

In August 2009, an environmental scientist from the
University of Massachusetts, Dr. Guy Lanza,
reviewed the Macal River profile from high
resolution photographs and reports. His conclusion,
circulated by e-mail, was that, "The water in that
river is unfit for human consumption and simply
cannot be filtered due to the high turbidity levels".

He noted, "The recent release of sediments with
severe turbidity contaminants from the Chalillo dam
is inexcusable and poses immediate risks to human
health, livestock health, and the ecology of the
Macal, Mopan, and Belize rivers."

People have been warned, too, that eating fish from
the Macal River is no longer safe. This is due to
increased levels of the heavy metal, mercury,
detected in these river fishes. The increased levels of
this dangerous element are a suspected result of the
unavoidable biological decay brought on by dam


construction. The Belize Government and the public
were warned about this potential health threat, as
part of the campaign to stop this project. These
warnings were dismissed.

In October 2008, massive amounts of rain caused
serious flooding of the Macal River. The National
Emergency Management Organization, NEMO,
published that "life-threatening floods in
communities along the Mopan, Macal and Belize
rivers resulted from these floods"

Businesses, homes and other infrastructure were
destroyed. 269 people were evacuated from their
homes. The total direct losses were estimated to be
at 11.3 million BZD.

BEL/FORTIS claimed that the destructive floods
would have been far worse if the Chalillo Dam were
not there.

They chose to ignore a profound article and
accompanying editorial in The Reporter Press, 2
November 08, which noted that the flooding river
raged into San Ignacio minus natural-occurring
sediments. A sediment-free river, as hydrologists
will confirm, flows with horrendous force, causing
grave changes and associated damages. Sediments,
previously part of the profile of the Macal River,
were held back by the dam.

Belizeans continue to be charged with some of the
highest electricity rates in Central America.
BEL/FORTIS, meanwhile, boasts of huge profits being
made from its utility interests. A current conflict in
Belize is seeing the Public Utilities Commission, PUC,
challenging BEL/FORTIS to return some of these
profits to the Belizean rate-payer. In a press
conference hosted by the PUC, on March 3, 2009,
Chairman John Avery again accused Belize Electricity
Limited, BEL, of deliberately misrepresenting its
financial position. The PUC states that BEL/FORTIS
owes the Belizean consumer approximately 20
million dollars in rebates (April 09).

The Natural Resources Defense Counsel, NRDC,
continues to work tirelessly to see that justice is
brought into the equation of questionable, unsound
development projects. Fortunately, projects which
ultimately reduce the quality of the environment,
and the living standards of citizens depending on
these environments for a healthy life profile, will
always receive their deserved legal address.
The Belize Alliance of Conservation NGOs,


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June 2009 THE BELIZE ZOOLETTER PAGE 9


BACONGO, has grown and continues to be an
important voice in Belize, drawing appropriate
attention to projects which show environmental mis-
direction.

The Belize Institute of Policy and Law organization,
BELPO, took the Department of the Environment,
DOE, to court over the lack of their seeing that
BEL/Fortis implements the Environmental
Compliance plan, ECP. To date, there still exists no
emergency evacuation plan. In the event of a dam
break, which could happen from excessive amounts
of rain as a result of severe storms or hurricanes,
people living downstream of the Chalillo Dam have
no warning system that would assist in alleviating
certain disaster. In July 08, The Belizean Courts ruled
in favor of BELPO. However, nearly one year later,
the ECP still has not been addressed on this level

The Belize Zoo, TBZ, continues to put forward strong
initiatives in an effort to preserve the biological
diversity in Belize. These efforts are principally
aimed at promoting the conservation of the Jaguar
and the Harpy Eagle. Conservation strategies
promote the concept of "Landscape Conservation":
Protect the forest home of the Jaguar and the Harpy
Eagle and the future of many species receives a
secure future, as well.

TBZ is now strongly focusing upon the conservation
of the Central Jaguar Corridor. These forested lands
are to the north and to the south of The Belize Zoo.
Protecting the integrity of this landscape ensures
healthy habitat necessary to sustain our remaining
Jaguar populations.

In early April, TBZ was nominated for the Belize
Tourism Board, BTB, award "Education Organization
of the Year". On April 22, TBZ was presented this
honoured award during as part of BTB's 9th Annual
National Awards Ceremony.

"People Changes" at TBZ, since the publication of
LAST FLIGHT OF THE SCARLET MACAW, are
important timepieces.

The Belize Zoo staff, now, minus the burden of the
zoo being involved in hard environmental battles,
has time for productive environmentally-oriented
activities. This includes their putting energies into
professional training, both in-country and across
borders, serving as members on Boards of Directors,
attending both international conferences and
meetings in Belize, training foreign students as


zoological assistants, and contributing photography
to zoo projects these are just a few of the dynamic
activities TBZ staff is involved with since the Landfill
issue and the Chalillo Dam project are no longer
present in "Zoo Time".

The Scarlet Macaws remaining in Belize have shown
a decline in number. Some of the birds return to the
Upper Raspaculo River valley, however, they do not
find the river they once knew or their nesting trees
which grew alongside that river. The Scarlet Macaws
find a lake, or a "mud-hole", as it has been referred
to in the height of the dry season, due to the Chalillo
Dam. They return in a vain effort to carry out their
nesting regime. No successful nesting activity has
been noted or reported in their former nesting area.
The attempts to place "nest boxes" in the area which
the Macaws once used as a vibrant nesting region,
and have these "new homes" replace the traditional
nesting trees, have been a total failure.

Reports requested from BEL/FORTIS about Scarlet
Macaw activities in the area of the constructed
Chalillo Dam, by TBZ, the University of Belize and the
Forest Department, have been ignored.

The Scarlet Macaws still remaining in Belize,
represent a remnant, displaced, and highly-disturbed
population. Just thirty years ago, it was reported
that "flocks of Scarlet Macaws" could be seen flying
down the Macal River towards the town of San
Ignacio. The construction of the Chalillo Dam, and
associated human behaviour, i.e. poaching, will work
to see the sad prediction made by BirdLife
International, come true: That there will most likely
be a local extirpation of Scarlet Macaws within two
generations.

THE LAST FLIGHT OF THE SCARLET MACAW is used in
at least five Universities in the USA as required
reading for Environmental Science courses. Many
people come to TBZ and state that the reason for
their visiting Belize, is all due to the reading of this
important book.

Life after LAST FLIGHT OF THE SCARLET MACAW, for
Sharon Matola, and for the important institution she
founded and still directs, is happy, challenging, and
continues to move forward with positive force.



The Belize Zoo named one

of the World's Wildest


June 2009


THE BELIZE ZOOLETTER


PAGE 9







June 2009 THE BELIZE ZOOLETTER PAGE 10


Zoo's


"The Best Little Zoo in the World," is rapidly
getting more and more of the international
renown it deserves. In a June 26th article on
Travel/MSN-UK, The Belie Zoo was ranked as
7th of the World's Top 10 Wildest Zoos. The
article by Izzie Knolles is as follows:
"Belize Zoo keeps only orphaned or rehabilitated
animals so visitors need not feel guilty about
diminishing wild populations. Moreover, the zoo's
collection are all endemic to Belize. You can spy
jaguars, puma and ocelots as well as Belize's
national animal, the tapir.

For a 40 donation you can climb into a cage with a
jaguar, getting close enough for the (tame) animal to
lick your face. The zoo may be small internationally
but it's uncrowded and intimate. The layout flows
smoothly into the surrounding landscape, making the
environment more natural for animal and viewer."

A heart warming picture of "Indy," our
resident baby Tapir being feed a slice of
watermelon, headlines the article.

It is rewarding to see little articles like these
about our "Little Zoo," showing that it is
moving up in the world, and gaining a
positive identity internationally.

Link to article:
(http://travel. uk. msn. com/inspiration/qallery. aspx?c
p-documentid=14617963&imaqeindex=7)



The Belize Zoo takes on

greater interactive role


It is easy to see that a huge appreciation of our
special wildlife readily happens by "up close and
personal" experiences during zoo visits.

Our staff will be ensuring this exciting
experiences do happen, with amazing activities
such as:


Playtime with Junior Buddy:
Our famous captive-bred young
Jaguar; come and have Junior
somersault for you, then feed him
and he might just give you a thank-
you kiss!

Photos with "Hilario," and
"Charlie" Our friendly ,captive-
bred Scarlet Macaws

Meet and Greet" with a Boa
Have a cuddle and a photo with
resident Boa Constrictor "Bal Boa"

"Meet and Greet" with Panama the
Harpy Eagle, and Zoo Director Ms.
Sharon Matola (appointment
necessary)

"Meet and Greet" and give a Hi-5 to
Problem Jaguar Rehab Graduate,
"Fieldmaster"

**(Fees for activities support Conservation
Education at The Belize Zoo)



Beyond the Zooletter


For more exciting news about The Belize Zoo,
and our conservation efforts:

Visit our Zooblog site at-
http://www.tbzblog.blogspot.com, and look up
Sharon M.'s profile on Facebook. Includes:

News and photo updates on the
animals at TBZ

Conservation and Education news

Discussion and comments from local
and international TBZ supporters


Also, support The Belize Project global group


June 2009


THE BELIZE ZOOLETTER


PAGE 10







June 2009 THE BELIZE ZOOLETTER PAGE 11



on Facebook, founded by C. Mayosky of
Cortland University, NY.

Listen to Zoo Director Sharon Matola as she
takes the Zoo international on BBC's live radio
show "Up All Night"

(http://www.bbc.co.uk/fivelive/programmes/u
pallnight.shtml)




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