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May 22, 2020

The Belize Zoo to host a soft re-opening this weekend!

The best little zoo in the world will re-open with a bang – for a soft launch this weekend. Three new educational ambassadors will make their debut this weekend. Today, our friends at the zoo gave us a sneak peek of the new highlights that you’ll be able to see if you visit this Saturday or Sunday. Here’s the story with Andrea Polanco:


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Meet Lindo – he is the newest jaguar ambassador. He has graduated from the rehab programme and will meet the public this weekend. He was a problem jaguar who was rescued from Blue Creek in northern Belize. But has turned away from his old ways and now he can roll, give high fives and show off his jumping skills.


Celso Poot, Operations Manager, TBZ

Celso Poot

“We have had time to work one on one with Lindo. He is one of the jaguars we rescued. He was a problem animal causing havoc with farmers and Sharon and the zoo keepers have worked tirelessly with Lindo making him more people friendly. Tomorrow we will be introducing Lindo to the public for them to get a firsthand look at a cat that was once a problem animal and is now an ambassador for its species here at the Belize Zoo.”


Two other special ambassadors will also make their debut to the public this weekend; Lourdess the Tapir and Ranger the Scarlet Macaw:


Celso Poot

“Ranger is the Scarlet Macaw that was rescued by the FCD in the Chiquibul and subsequently cared for by the Wildlife Referral Clinic and then ended up at the Belize Zoo as an ambassador for scarlet macaw species. He was born with a defect and cannot fly and so we have him as an educational ambassador here at the zoo. Lourdess the tapir we rescued from the Lord’s Bank area in 2019 – she also couldn’t be released back into the wild. She was hit by a car and is blind in an eye and has some dental problems. The recommendation from the vet was that we keep her here at the zoo for her older years. So, we were able to fundraise and get someone to sponsor a new exhibit for the tapir extension and so Lourdess will be debuting to the public tomorrow as well.”


After closing its grounds to visitors for eight weeks, the Belize Zoo is hosting its soft opening on Saturday and Sunday with those three new experiences.  Visitors must wear masks. The zoo is also implementing other safety measures:


Celso Poot

“We are really excited to be reopening after eight weeks. The zoo, we probably closed before the government recommended the complete closure of the country. One of the reasons we closed is because we had no visitors and we were operating. But we have had some time to really work with our animals one on one. The zoo keeper has spent a lot of time along with Sharon to really look at what we will be offering when the zoo open tomorrow. It is a soft reopening.

The zoo has more than one mile of pathway all across the grounds. We will monitor that to see what the visitation will be like. We don’t expect to have a thousand people. For our café, people will need to preorder before they go in and have their name down so that we don’t have too many people rushing that area. So we will be abiding by the requirements of social distancing. You need to have your mask and we will be providing hand sanitizer coming in and as you enter and exit the café if you choose to go in there.”

And as a special treat for every family, you will be gifted with this guide book to the Best Little Zoo in the world, authored by founder Sharon Matola.


Andrea Polanco reporting for News Five.


he Zoo will open for visitors this Saturday and Sunday from nine in the morning to four in the evening. The last tour will begin at three-fifteen.  Cover charge for adults is seven dollars and two dollars for children three to twelve-years-old.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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