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Dec 1, 2010

It’s a jungle out there, but the zoo is ready for visitors once again

On October twenty-fourth the Belize Zoo suffered major infrastructural damage to much of the structures and trees when Hurricane Richard ripped directly over its path.  It took more than a month of constant work to rebuild and reshape the facility and today, amidst much fanfare, it re-opened with a whole new look.  Well, Junior Buddy and April the Tapir were giving visitors a warm welcome today and according to Zoo Director, Sharon Matola and Zoo contributor, Richard Foster, the repairs have worked out for the better.

Sharon Matola, Zoo Director

sharon matola

“It’s a big change for the people that work here and for the animals that live here and call this their comfort zone. When you change the furniture which is what we did with the help of Hurricane Richard, you change the outlook of the animals that have come grown to know a certain place to be a certain place. Are they getting use to it? Every day is better. Every day is a new emerging day where the zoo is growing up a little more; the animals are getting use to the environment a little better and the people who are visiting today for the very first time since we’ve been closed for a month like it so I think we are doing ok. The renovations are innovative. For instance, Marion we lost a hugely big Guanacaste tree, nineteen year old tree. Instead of dragging it out, chopping it out, we have made an exhibit out of it to show people what a category one hurricane is capable of doing. And if that tree saves one person’s home or maybe a life, then I say the zoo’s purpose is even degrees more important that I thought it could be.”

Richard Foster, Zoo Contributor

richard foster

“When that hurricane came, Hurricane Richard, it was heart breaking, really heartbreaking to see what it did. All the big trees that had grown up and the beauty of the zoo was just destroyed but I tell you it didn’t put Sharon off and those guys worked like crazy over the last month. The catastrophe has attracted some funds so some things will be done better than they were before. I believe everybody has had some kind of shakeup and the zoo is gonna become more vital. It is amazing what can come out of disaster if you really will it and I think that is what is what’s happening there at the zoo.”

Admission fee at the zoo is five dollars for adults and two dollars for children.  Students and teachers on school trips pay a dollar per person.

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1 Response for “It’s a jungle out there, but the zoo is ready for visitors once again”

  1. Red Bear says:

    I’m from the States, but I’ve visited the Jewel a LOT over the last 25 years. Belize Zoo is really a tremendous asset for the country, the best small zoo I’ve ever visited [and I've visited zoos in many more than 50 countries, it's something I always enjoy].

    Well done, Sharon Matola and your team at Belize Zoo. I hope to see you again soon.

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