Over the course of my 9 years living in Belize, I have crossed paths many interesting people from afar. This post is about one of them, a crocodile research intern who was in Belize last year.
I met Miriam in September 2014 when I offered to host a small pool party for a visiting Biologist and her interns that were down working with Chris at American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES). They were a smart funny group and I was glad to give them a chance to cool down after a hot day in the sun of taking toxicity samples coupled with the stinky work of dissecting crabs and fish. To see pictures of them working in Tamara’s yard check out Crocodile health on Ambergris Caye is alarming says initial research findings – San Pedro Sun. To find out results their samples that were taken read Environment around Ambergris Caye is contaminated – also San Pedro Sun News paper.
Miriam recently emailed me asking if I remembered her and if I was willing to help get the word out about her crowdfunding efforts to raise money to help her research and Belize Conservation, more specifically the American Crocodile.
Her chosen area of study is crocodile communication and until now, there has been very little research done on crocodilian communication and it’s potential to be applied to new conservation techniques.
Miriam came up with this project in response to croc sickness and injury. Even though crocodiles are moved out of polluted environments, many of them make their way back because that’s the area they are familiar with. It’s not feasible to set up physical barriers to keep them away from things, so she started thinking about sonic barriers and came up with the idea of using deterrent devices.
Miriam will research their communication and behavioral response to different sounds to determine whether there is a type of frequency crocodiles don’t like. Based on her findings, she will work on developing an acoustic device that will repel crocodiles away from residential, polluted and dangerous areas.
A project of this nature has never been implemented on American crocodiles and at its most basic level, Miriam’s work will raise the bar and create a new ongoing area of study in American crocodile ecology.
Miriam is thinking outside the box and working hard to get this important crocodile communication research project up and running in Belize. She is currently seeking help through a crowdfund conservation campaign – so far Miriam has raised $1,280USD of her $6,330 goal. Any donation you make will go a long way towards her work, and Miriam is offering perks to those who support her project.
If you are a fan of crocodiles, care about the wildlife on Ambergris Caye and are in a position to help please help make this important work happen.
Visit the Crowds for Crocs page to find out what the cool croc donation incentives are. You will also learn more about Miriam’s interesting life and work. She wears one of the marks of many a great researcher, she knew Crocodiles were in her future from a very young age.
Miriam is taking a non-conventional approach to crocodile conservation and believes sonic deterrents can work. I hope she is right as there is a real need for a solution.
Hopefully part of it will be her acoustic device that will keep crocodiles away from residential, polluted and dangerous areas as shown in the pictures below.
Sadly too many Crocodile, wildlife and human habitats are being polluted and overdeveloped.