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Jun 3, 2022

The Importance of the Sharon Matola Wildlife Sanctuary

And this afternoon at the Belize Zoo, friends and colleagues of the late Sharon Matola gathered to celebrate her legacy in wildlife conservation.  Her successor, Celso Poot, is the director of the Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center. He also spoke about the importance of the Sharon Matola Wildlife Sanctuary.

 

Celso Poot

Celso Poot, Director, The Belize Zoo

 

“So together with the nine hundred and forty-five acres the zoo already owns, you look that way, you look this way, you look that way and all the way to the highway will become the Sharon Matola Wildlife Sanctuary.  This is an important piece of land and obviously, as I said, it’s been a work in the making since 1984.  Sharon was a visionary, she saw this.  Notes that I found when this land was discussed back in 1984 talked of propagating a site for the breeding of our national animal, the Central American tapir.  Camera traps on this property by the University of Belize‘s Environmental Research Institute, and Panthera shows that not only tapirs live here, you have jaguars, you have pumas, you have the white-lipped peccary.  We also have the yellow-headed parrot nesting all over this land and so it’s an important part.  Most of you have heard of the Central Belize Corridor, the Central Biological Corridor, now the Maya Forest Corridor, so it has evolved.  And this piece of land, this piece of property is but an island within the Maya Forest Corridor.  It is the only piece of land that has protected forests on both sides of the highway, so it’s critical, it’s important for migrating animals moving between the southern and northern forests in Belize.”

 


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