It’s a jungle out there, Zoo animals ready for human visitors
Since Hurricane Richard’s fury left many of the animals at the Belize Zoo without their habitats, staff members at the facility, with the help of volunteers, have been feverishly trying to restore things back to normal. That effort started soon after the storm when the zoo had to close its doors for the clean-up and retrofitting. Well, now the animals and their caretakers are prepped and ready to welcome you and your family or classmates for the big opening this week. The reopening is centered around books and posters highlighting the three-year-old jaguar Junior Buddy, to showcase the plight of jaguars. Environmental Educator at the Belize Zoo, Jamal Andrewin explains.
Jamal Andrewin, Environmental Educator, Belize Zoo
“It’s called, “The Jaguar – Help Me or Hurt Me” and its message is quite simple. It’s to remind Belizeans that there are about six to eight hundred jaguars left in Belize. That’s conservative estimates and the population is on decline due to deforestation and persecution due to hunters and farmers right? Apart from this they suffer from the fact that they are hunted as well for their teeth and their claws to make jaguar jewelry. For example, the picture of this jaguar tooth pendant here, we’ve had reports of it coming from areas such as Lamanai, Placencia, San Pedro, and tourists are targeted. They’re approached, they’re offered these and – Belizeans as well. So the idea of this process is to remind people that it’s completely illegal to purchase these that no jaguar is found dead and the parts are taken. They are more than likely killed and they are killed for these purposes.”
The opening is set for December first at the same location at mile twenty nine on the Western Highway. The zoo charges students on school trips a dollar for each child and teacher.Email This Story