Wildlife Concerns on Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker
December 1st through the 3rd, 2015, four Belize Forest Department (BFD) Wildlife Officers, Edgar Correa, Minerva Gonzalez, Mercedes Valdez, and Erwin Gillette, spent three days addressing wildlife concerns and laws on Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker. The evening of December 1st, the four Wildlife Officers along with two police officers from the S.P. Police Department, joined the American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES) on one of their evening crocodile research excursions. Belize’s Crocodile Expert and ACES’s Co-Founder, Vince Rose, and ACES’s crocodile conservationist Chris Summers shared pertinent crocodile biology and behavior facts with the enthusiastic officers. ACES has been humanely tagging crocodiles with Pro-ID microchips for an ongoing population distribution study since 2008. To date, over 500 crocodiles in Belize have been tagged providing pertinent scientific data and enabling the identification of problematic crocodiles for relocation, or captivity, to ensure human safety.
On December 2nd, the BFD and ACES went on to visit the Estuary of Caye Caulker, a culture interpretive center with nature trails through a mangrove lagoon. The BFD had received reports that there was possibly illegal crocodile feedings taking place. However, along the beautiful nature trail over the lagoon there were signs clearly warning the public against this activity. ACES looks forward to working with the Estuary at Caye Caulker and assisting in training their guides about Belize’s crocodiles under the direction of the Belize Forest Department.
Finally, December 3rd the BFD held their annual “Green Law” training with the S.P. Police Department and ACES. This included a power point presentation to refresh the police officers on Belize’s Wildlife Laws and the methods of enforcement for those laws, incorporating wildlife captivity laws and reiterating the fact that it is illegal to feed the crocodiles; to protect the species, and more importantly to protect humans.
ACES and the BFD would like to thank Banana Beach Resort for donating their luxuries, private, veranda accommodations to the BFD Officers for two nights; Carts Belize for their donation of the use of golf cart for the BFD to check up on captive wildlife; and Gillian and Gordon Kirkwood for donating the funds for transportation to and from Ambergris Caye. [This press release courtesy of ACES]