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Wildtracks: Conservation, Research and Education

Wildtracks news

Wildtracks Update: Happy World Tapir Day!! Sharing tapir stories from Fireburn, the howler monkey release site - it isn't all just about the howlers and manatees! 2017-04-28 06:55
Wildtracks Update: Edgar Correa, (Wildlife Officer, Belize Forest Department), delivers the most recent howler monkey intake - thought to be an escaped illegal pet, found roaming the streets in Santa Elena, Cayo. She is now settled into her new enclosure in quarantine, and tucking into fruit and leaves. A huge thank you to Mike Salazar for rescuing her and reporting her to Forest Department, and to Dr. Isabelle for providing overnight care and veterinarian expertise. 2017-04-25 08:32
Wildtracks Link: Belize's World Heritage Site, the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, is highlighted in a new report on the illegal trade of CITES species - for the illegal transboundary fishing of CITES-regulated shark species.

"More than 50 per cent of Belize’s population, or 190,000 people, are supported by incomes generated through reef related tourism and fisheries. Illegal harvesting of iconic species, however, rapidly decreases animal populations and reduces the site’s attractiveness as a tourist destination, which can lead to a decline in the local tourist industry and jeopardize livelihoods."

http://wwf.panda.org/wwf_news/?297850/Illegal-wildlife-trafficking-occurs-in-nearly-30-per-cent-of-worlds-most-protected-areas

http://d2ouvy59p0dg6k.cloudfront.net/downloads/cites_final_eng.pdf
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Illegal wildlife trafficking occurs in nearly 30 per cent of world’s most protected areas wwf.panda.org A new WWF report published today urges for additional and immediate measures to halt the worrying trend in illegal trafficking for international trade of CITES-listed species in the world’s most ecologically important places, including World Heritage Sites.
2017-04-24 08:04
Wildtracks Update: A huge thank you to Colette Kase and Rebecca Coutant for organizing a milk drive in San Pedro, Belize, for the nursery monkeys here at Wildtracks!!!

If you are interested in participating, check out the link, which provides more information on which milk the monkeys need, and where the drop off points are for tomorrow and Tuesday (they include The Baker, about 1 mile south of San Pedro town, and the bar at The Truck Stop)..the milk will be transported to Sarteneja on Tuesday afternoon (25th April).

We have recently added two new baby howler monkeys to the nursery - one (Piper) rescued from a river bank, the second (Prim) confiscated by the Forest Department. Coming in within a day of each other, the two have been treated for giardia and other parasites, and Prim for mange, and are now going through quarantine together. This puts our nursery monkey numbers at eight...a lot of milk!! So we are especially appreciative of the support from the San Pedro community!

We are always amazed at the generosity of Wildtracks supporters...whether it is donating time to volunteer, funds to help support the programs or spreading the word about the work Wildtracks does....thank you to all those who have participated in the milk drive - those who have donated a tin of milk (or are about to!), those shops that have provided drop off points, and the biggest thank you to Colette and Rebecca for making this happen!!

http://www.sanpedroscoop.com/2017/04/wildtracks-program-manatees-monkeys-help-deliver-formula-babies.html
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Wildtracks' Program for Manatees and Monkeys: Help Me Deliver Formula to The Babies - San Pedro Scoop sanpedroscoop.com Just across the lagoon, just outside the mainland fishing village of Sarteneja, is an amazing AMAZING place. It's called Wildtracks. Started in 1990 by Z
2017-04-23 08:16
Wildtracks Update: The Yucatan black howler monkeys of Pre-release One (Finn, Innie, Vicky, Kenya and Maggie) are being prepared for release back into the wild...so here's a glimpse back at their time at Wildtracks - the last clip in this video is of Maggie - taken this morning - for all those people who have worked with this group.

While we are celebrating their success as a troop, and their success in pre-release, today we are also celebrating a new addition to the troop - yes...this morning, Kenya has had her baby! This may place their release plans on hold until the baby is old enough, but the addition of one more globally endangered Yucatan black howler monkey to the World's population is well worth celebrating!

Happy Earth Day!!
2017-04-22 13:43
Wildtracks Link: We are very pleased and excited that the globally endangered Central American (or Geoffroy's) spider monkey has been selected as the next focus for One Species...Thank You!

"When we went down to Belize, we had no idea what we would find. We knew it was one of the planet's richest biodiverse places. We knew it was hope to some world-class conservationists. And we knew that the search for the next species was going to be an adventure! The organization we've partnered with in Belize embodies everything we look for in a partner - dedicated, passionate and impactful. They're on the ground working to rehabilitate endangered Geoffroy's Spider Monkeys. Our newest clothing collection represents these spider monkeys, 10% being donated to the first release ever of a troop in Belize. Let's rep life and show our newest partner, Wildtracks, some support!"

https://onespeciesapparel.com/
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One Species h in Belize embodies everything we look for in a partner - dedicated, passionate and impactful. They're on the ground working to rehabilitate endangered Geoffroy's Spider Monkeys. Our newest clothing collection represents these spider monkeys, 10% being donated to the first release ever in Belize. Let's rep life and show our newest partner, Wildtracks, some support! www.onespeciesapparel.com ...
2017-04-19 08:10
Wildtracks Update: A new arrival at the Rehabilitation Centre...another young Yucatan black howler monkey.

Not all arrivals are illegal pets that have been confiscated - some, like this one, get separated from their group especially if two groups are fighting, or a new male is taking over and harassing the females.

She was heard crying on the river bank by someone out fishing, who rescued her and contacted the Belize Forest Department....at only three months or so, she is far too young to be able to survive in the wild on her own.
2017-04-11 10:19
Wildtracks Thank You: A huge thank you to Henrick Carlsen and Beer4Beasts, of Denmark, for choosing Wildtracks as one of the organizations to support this year - and for raising US$700 towards the operational costs of the Manatee Rehabilitation Program. With five manatees currently in care, costs are high, and we really appreciate all the help we receive!!

Also...Thank you to all the Beer4Beasts customers who put in orders and drank the beer!

Located in Denmark, Beer4Beasts is based on the brilliant concept of saving endangered animals one beer at a time, by brewing and selling specialty beers. As someone who appreciates a good beer, I love the idea of being able to contribute to conservation by drinking to the health and well being of wildlife! There are many ways to go about #racingextinction ...and this one definitely deserves a round of applause!
2017-04-03 17:41
Wildtracks Link: The USFWS have announced the downlisting of manatees in the US. Good news? Perhaps not.... this doesn't take into account the global status of West Indian manatees.

Here in Belize, we are currently losing manatees at a rate of one per week, primarily to boat strikes in the Belize River...one per week...that we know about!

We have a population that is considered the best in the Central American region, yet we estimate that we have only between 700 and 1000....based on the last count of 507 individuals in 2012.

In 2015, we had 42 confirmed fatalities....that is almost double the rate of reproduction.

The downlisting and the perception that manatees are doing better, will make it harder for organizations in Belize to access funding to reverse this trend...and we will only be able to watch as we lose these gentle giants, one by one....

What does it take to save a species...before we run out of time?
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Save the Manatee on Twitter twitter.com/savethemanatee… “Why do we consider downlisting premature at this time? https://t.co/kTVNcl4R5x”
2017-04-01 20:34
Wildtracks Update: Hope is continuing to do well...

She arrived in August as a result of Hurricane Earl...minute at 24lbs, and no more than two days old.

She is now seven months old and weighs in at 123lbs! She may still be the youngest manatee calf we have, but there is nothing small about her!!

Hope is now happily inhabiting the first large pool, and has a healthy appetite for seagrass...thank you to all those on the Manatee Team who have worked with her since her arrival to ensure her health and happiness!

Thank you also to Sarah for use of the photo...
2017-04-01 18:01
Wildtracks Blog: Today's blog comes from Paul, who volunteered at Wildtracks with his girlfriend, Suzie. Paul and Suzie were fantastic volunteers - we loved their commitment and enthusiasm, their great teamwork and their good humour. As Paul found out, volunteers don't need to arrive with prior experience - Wildtracks provides an orientation and training period on arrival...but volunteers do need to arrive with a good team attitude and willing to work long, hard days. As any Wildtracks volunteer will tell you, volunteering at Wildtracks is definitely not a holiday!!

A huge thank you to Paul and Suzie...and to all Wildtracks volunteers! You are the foundation for the success of the Wildtracks rehabilitation programmes, an essential part of the Wildtracks team, and we couldn't achieve what we do without you!!!

Thanks to Anthony for the photo of Penny...

http://www.wildtracksbelize.org/rehab/blog/98/
2017-04-01 07:39
Wildtracks Link: We believe in the strengths of collaboration...and are always willing to work with other organization to increase the reach and benefits of our activities and learn more about those of others.

Yesterday we participated in the first Marine Science Conference held at St. Viator's Vocational High School, and organized by the Belize Audubon Society. It is always a pleasure to present to youths, and especially to be able to share with them the different ways in which we use science to inform and guide our manatee rehabilitation activities.

Great job, Belize Audubon Society!!
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Belize Audubon Society - Belize, Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association, Wildtracks, Oceana Belize, Ecosur Chetumal ...
2017-03-30 14:05
Wildtracks Link: So yesterday was Manatee Appreciation Day...and time to do something for these amazing mammals!

Why not join the 2017 Save the Manatee 5k marathon in May? You can run it or walk it anywhere! There are currently 500 virtual participants and 150 actual participants...find out more and take part to support manatees!

Do the run, get the t-shirt and support manatee conservation around the world!
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Save The Manatee 5K ctual event to support the Save the Manatee Club! ...
2017-03-30 13:35
Wildtracks Video: Portraits of a manatee calf.

The youngest calf at Wildtracks at the moment is Hope. She arrived after being washed up 200m inland by the tidal surge of Hurricane Earl. She has grown exponentially, moving from the Intensive Care Pool to the Recovery Pool, and now the Large Pool. She enjoys both milk and seagrass, as well as 'swim times' with her carers, to strengthen her tail muscles, in preparation for her move to the Lagoon Enclosure.

Hope is easy going - a joy to work with, and a favourite of all (not that we admit to having favourites!!) Have you thought about volunteering at Wildtracks? Our manatee team usually consists of four volunteers plus Jaimy, our Manatee Team leader. Check out our website for information on how to apply...

www.wildtracksbelize.org

#manateeappreciationday #racingextinction
2017-03-29 18:42
Wildtracks Video: Happy Manatee Appreciation Day!! Our second video follows the story of Khaleesi...definitely the Queen of Manatees here at Wildtracks!

Khaleesi came in as a very young calf in 2013, and has charmed everyone as she moved through the rehabilitation process. She has spent the last year on soft release in the lagoon, first with carers, and now on her own. As we follow her daily routine using her SPOT satellite transmitter and check up on her with the DJI drone, we know that she is grazing, and has favourite resting and foraging areas. She is nearing the age when we think about release....Khaleesi is almost ready to move on, back into the wild!

#manateeappreciationday #findmespot #dji #racingextinction
2017-03-29 18:05
Wildtracks Video: Happy Manatee Appreciation Day!! Our second video follows the story of Khaleesi...definitely the Queen of Manatees here at Wildtracks!

Khaleesi came in as a very young calf in 2013, and has charmed everyone as she moved through the rehabilitation process. She has spent the last year on soft release in the lagoon, first with carers, and now on her own. As we follow her daily routine using her SPOT satellite transmitter and check up on her with the DJI drone, we know that she is grazing, and has favourite resting and foraging areas. She is nearing the age when we think about release....Khaleesi is almost ready to move on, back into the wild!

#manateeappreciationday #findmespot #dji #racingextinction
2017-03-29 17:46
Wildtracks Video; It's Manatee Appreciation Day, so we are sharing some of our manatee stories! This first one is of Mitch and Lucky, who arrived in 2015. Two calves that came in within two weeks of each other, both requiring intensive care.

Lucky in particular came in in a critical state - he was like a bag of skin and bones - it is a miracle that he survived.

Mitch and Lucky have grown up together, moving through the rehabilitation process, and become tightly bonded. They follow each other around the Lagoon Enclosure, seldom moving more than a few feet away.

They are now ready to start soft release in the lagoon, and have just been fitted with their soft release collars, ready for their SPOT transmitters. we took the opportunity to weigh them...for those who worked with them as calves, you will be happy to know that Lucky is now 230lbs, whilst Mitch weighs in at 257lbs.

Both are thriving, and more than ready to move on to the next step towards their release.

A huge thank you to everyone involved in their care so far - Jamal Galves, for their rescue, Wildtracks volunteers (especially those who volunteered for night shifts and constant sleep deprivation for the month when they first arrived), donors and partners...we couldn't have done this without you!!
2017-03-29 16:32
Wildtracks Video; It's Manatee Appreciation Day, so we are sharing some of our manatee stories! This first one is of Mitch and Lucky, who arrived in 2015. Two calves that came in within two weeks of each other, both requiring intensive care.

Lucky in particular came in in a critical state - he was like a bag of skin and bones - it is a miracle that he survived.

Mitch and Lucky have grown up together, moving through the rehabilitation process, and become tightly bonded. They follow each other around the Lagoon Enclosure, seldom moving more than a few feet away.

They are now ready to start soft release in the lagoon, and have just been fitted with their soft release collars, ready for their SPOT transmitters. we took the opportunity to weigh them...for those who worked with them as calves, you will be happy to know that Lucky is now 230lbs, whilst Mitch weighs in at 257lbs.

Both are thriving, and more than ready to move on to the next step towards their release.

A huge thank you to everyone involved in their care so far - Jamal Galves, for their rescue, Wildtracks volunteers (especially those who volunteered for night shifts and constant sleep deprivation for the month when they first arrived), donors and partners...we couldn't have done this without you!!
2017-03-29 16:32
Wildtracks Update: Limited awareness of the value of wildlife has been identified as one of the major barriers to effective engagement of people at all levels in protection of wildlife in Belize. On Monday, Wildtracks joined with the Forest Department and wildlife partners to run a workshop to finalise the National Wildlife Awareness Strategy, to provide a framework for the Forest Department and its wildlife partners to collaborate effectively in their wildlife communication and outreach campaigns.

They say "The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way that its animals are treated"....A room full of committed Forest Officers and wildlife stakeholders, planning for the future, sharing tools and approaches that work, strengthening communication...working with these people is inspiring, and gives me hope that wildlife in Belize has a future, that people will come to know and care for their wild heritage, and that the natural wealth of Belize will continue to support the tourism industry, communities, hunters, and fishers into the long term.

A huge thank you to all those who participated, and to USFWS Wildlife Without Borders for their support
2017-03-29 07:20
Wildtracks Update: Belize has produced a number of unexpected surprises for us over the year, the most recent on Sunday, when we joined the Belize Forest Department and Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic in Palmar, a small community on the outskirts of Orange Walk. Who would have thought that such a quiet oasis of forest could be found in the middle of a community - with its very own howler monkey in residence!

Reports have been coming in over the last few months of a howler monkey, living in the centre of the village, being shot at by youths. An initial visit to assess the situation turned up no monkey, but the reports continued. The visit on Sunday was a fact finding trip - how did the community feel about the monkey? Would they be willing to protect it? Or was it in danger, and in need of translocation to a safer forest area?

We presented on the issues facing howler monkeys in Belize, on the increasingly rapid conversion of forest to agriculture, and on why this particular howler monkey may have turned up in the forest patch. The Forest Department provided information on the wildlife laws that protect this endangered species, and BWRC on its facility, which takes in and repairs injured wildlife.

The discussion that followed was open and informative. People identified different mechanisms for reporting attacks on the monkey to the Forest Department officers, and the response they could expect from the Forest Department. An opportunity was identified to engage the local school in raising awareness of the forest, and protection of the monkey. The community participants at the meeting also requested formal protection of the forest strip as a Special Management Area....

Like many communities in Belize, however, the meeting was attended by those in favour of the proposal, whilst those with little interest or in opposition stayed away. With only one view on the situation, it makes a decision difficult...What is best for the monkey? What is good for the community? A community reserve would ensure that there will always be that connection with wildlife and nature. It would build good environmental stewardship and ensure that future generations will know and appreciate Belize's forests, the ecosystem services they provide, the wildlife they protect. However, a decision to set aside community lands as a community reserve needs to be agreed on by the whole community...difficult when there is already conflict between community groups. But what was so special about this piece of forest?

I got my first look at the forest on Sunday afternoon. It follows a seasonal stream flowing through the middle of the community, forming a green patch of life in a landscape of sugar cane farms and urban areas. Over the years, the forest has gradually been removed from the west of the community, one of the reasons this howler monkey has moved into the village. As we moved into the cool, green shelter of the forest, tall provision trees towered above us, and large buttress roots stood firm in the swampy soils. Small forest birds flitted through the sunlit patches and philodendrons climbed tree trunks in their search for light.

And there, in one of the highest trees, sat the howler monkey - a large male, intent on ignoring us as he slept in the heat of the early afternoon. What will his future be? Will the community be able to protect him from the sticks and stones, the pellet guns and shotguns of bored youths?

This conflict between wildlife and people plays out in communities across Belize. As the forests are increasingly cleared, howler monkeys move into the remaining forest patches - into communities such as Palmar and Yo Creek, where they are misunderstood, and often feared. As more of their forests are cleared, they have no choice but to move into the last remaining trees. Yet these gentle, endangered primates want nothing more than to be left alone...
2017-03-28 09:33
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