Wildtracks: Conservation, Research and Education

Wildtracks news

Wildtracks Update:

Under the Primate Conservation Programme, Wildtracks has been busy conducting outreach activities in collaboration with forest Department, as part of the Forests 4 Life initiative. Today, it is in San Victor, with the Orange Walk Forest Officers, in celebration of yesterday's International Day of Forests.

Thank you, Emma and Jaimy, for you continuing commitment to engaging and inspiring youths and adults in Belize...
2017-03-22 14:50
Wildtracks Update: Wildtracks has joined Belize's marine conservation community in Punta Gorda to celebrate the final day of Reef Week, 2017. Local schools and community members visited the Reef Week Fair to learn about marine conservation, the NGOs working to make a difference here in Belize, and what they, as individuals, could do to help.

Belize's reef system - part of the Mesoamerican Reef, is home to so many marine creatures. From endangered manatees and sea turtles to commercial fish species, and the lobster and conch that support the free divers and trap fishers of the traditional fishing communities. The vibrant reef supports Belize's tourism industry - from tour guides to boat captains...to restaurants, hotels and even taxi drivers.

Organizations like Belize Audubon Society, Toledo Institute for Development and Environment, Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association, and Sarteneja Alliance for Conservaton and Development work with the Government of Belize to protect Belize's reef system through effective management of protected areas, whilst others such as the the World Wildlife Fund, Wildlife Conservation Society, Oceana and The Nature Conservancy focus on advocacy and policy strengthening to ensure the reef and coastal areas of Belize are given the protection they deserve, benefiting not only the marine life, but people as well.

A huge THANK YOU to all those involved in protecting and managing Belize's reef for the future....from rangers to educators to researchers to managers!

#reefweek2017 #turnthetide
2017-03-17 15:57
Wildtracks Update: This is Puck...named after the Celtic "half-tamed woodland spirit". Puck has been with us for three weeks, and has already been the focus of one post, when we took him through to the Belize wildlife and Referral Clinic last week to find out how many shot pellets he had in him. Yesterday, the two pellets were removed and he is now recovering well.

And why did he have shotgun pellets in him?

Because that is how baby monkeys are caught for the illegal pet trade - by shooting the mothers.

Puck is only one of several monkeys to have arrived at Wildtracks with pellets embedded in their bodies. It is thought that several are killed for every monkey caught.

Keeping monkeys in Belize is illegal....
Selling monkeys in Belize is illegal....
Buying monkeys in Belize is illegal...

Puck has a future back in the wild...he is a small bundle of energy, excitable, a troublemaker, a character-full "half tamed woodland spirit". He is not a pet.

Thank you, Isabelle / BWRC and Alysha, for the photos!
2017-03-16 17:53
Wildtracks Update: Yesterday, we continued our Reef Week outreach with the first form class from Sarteneja Baptist High School visited the Wildtracks Manatee Rehabilitation Centre to learn about Belize's manatees, the reef system they live in, and marine conservation.

Everyone, from young to old, can help make a difference - from respecting "No Wake Zones" to making sure garbage stays out of the ocean, no effort is too small and we hope to inspire the children of today to become the leaders of tomorrow, ensuring the future of Belize's biodiversity.

2017-03-16 16:37
Wildtracks Update: Inspiring, and being inspired by youths in Sarteneja - towards improved marine stewardship!

Reef week activities at the Manatee Rehabilitation Centre have continued with a visit from Standard 3 students of the Sarteneja Nazarene School, who learnt about the natural resources that manatees need, and the threats they face in the coastal waters of Belize.
2017-03-14 12:54
Wildtracks Update: We were surprised and delighted yesterday by a very thoughtful gift of a decorated box full of fruit from the Standard 3 class from La Inmaculada RC primary school in Sarteneja, which visited Wildtracks as part of our Reef Week activities. Whilst the primary focus was manatees and marine conservation, the students wanted to make sure the monkeys weren't feeling too left out!

A huge thank you to Mr. Garcia and his enthusiastic class of budding wildlife conservationists!
2017-03-14 12:32
Wildtracks Update: Reef week activities continue with Standard 3 of the Sarteneja La Inmaculada Roman Catholic Primary School visiting the Manatee Rehabilitation Centre at Wildtracks to learn more about manatees. Manatees are a part of Sarteneja, and Corozal Bay Wildlife Sanctuary is a key manatee area, locally, nationally and regionally. Raising awareness of the threats facing these gentle creatures in coastal communities is as important as addressing the root causes of the threats that face them.

It is always a pleasure to host young people - future fishermen and women, tour guides, boat captains, decision makers and community leaders - and to nurture their understanding and enthusiasm, to strengthen stewardship of the marine resources in the long term

2017-03-13 13:12
Wildtracks Update: Reef Week continues, and today we highlight the Sarteneja buses - critical to the Sarteneja community in connecting the fishermen with their sailboats, moored in Belize City. Also critical to Wildtracks as they source and transport the fruit needed for the Primate Rehabilitation Programme, and collect trailer-loads of water hyacinths for the manatees.

Ubi Perez and his crew are used to moving bus engines around, and put this muscle power to assist us with catching the rehab manatees when needed - when moving 300lbs of manatee, it's helpful to have some weight lifters around!

Towards the end of last year, they surprised us by notching up their actions towards protection of manatees, raising awareness with one of their buses....watch out for it in Belize City, on the road to Orange Walk, and all points beyond there to Sarteneja...

A huge thank you to all those involved in maintaining and running the Sarteneja buses...you are very much appreciated!!!
2017-03-12 07:50
Wildtracks Update: Reef Week activities at Wildtracks have started with participation in the Blue Ventures Reef Fair in Sarteneja. An opportunity to reach out to the community and share information on the marine resources...with (of course) an emphasis on manatees!

Sarteneja's connection with the reef is strong - 78% of households are dependent on the marine resources, mostly as traditional fishers of conch and lobster. The Sarteneja Fishermen Association is working to improve good stewardship of the reef.

Sarteneja's connection with manatees is seen in the school team names, messages on the Sarteneja bus, the interest shown by those out on those evenings when manatees shelter by the village wharf, the fishermen who have rescued manatees from their fish traps or brought in news of injured manatees. It is seen in the committment of the rangers and other staff of the Sarteneja Alliance for Conservation and Development (SACD) that work to protect the manatees of Corozal Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, and to ensure that local fishing and tourism uses the resources sustainably.
2017-03-11 14:30
Wildtracks Fireburn Update: As we start planning for the upcoming howler monkey releases this year, the tracking team reports back from Fireburn...three more births, taking the known total of young born to the troops to nineteen, since the start of the reintroduction programme! Clyde's troop has increased by two, and Dudley has yet another youngster added to his troop.

This represents a 38% increase in population since the first releases almost six years ago. As many of the released troops were composed of sub-adults, we can expect more youngsters in the future, as these reach maturity.

The majority of the nineteen youngsters are now more than a year old, some more than two. The troops have proved themselves more than capable of rearing wild born youngsters, despite the majority of the reintroduced monkeys being confiscated from the illegal pet trade. It will be several years before we reach our next bench mark, when these youngsters start to have their own young...but we are confident that they will.
2017-03-11 07:24
Wildtracks Link: Today is the start of Reef Week in Belize, in celebration of Belize's World Heritage Site, the Belize Barrier Reef.

The coastal waters of Belize are an area of outstanding beauty, with the largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere, off-shore atolls, crystal clear waters, mangrove forests, coastal lagoons and estuaries, and
several hundred idyllic sand cayes.

Belize's reef is unique...it's beauty and vibrant life support Belize's economy and the livelihoods of fishers and tour guides. It provides a home for globally endangered species, endemic species unique to Belize and charismatic species - sharks, seahorses, turtles...and manatees.

The atolls, reef and coastal mangroves provide critical protection against tropical storm events and coastal flooding, breaking the force of storm surges from the Atlantic. Coastal mangroves are also important in providing protection, buffering the land against tropical storm force winds and preventing shoreline erosion.

Enjoy this video from Oceana Belize...bring Belize's reef into your home today!
Oceana Belize rts say a compromise safety buffer would be a minimum of 50 kilometers. As we begin Reef Week 2017, we join the call to "Turn the Tide; Respect the Reef"! #SayNotooffshoreOilBelize #toloveandprotectBelize #Belize πŸ‡§πŸ‡ΏπŸ‡§πŸ‡ΏπŸ‡§πŸ‡ΏπŸ‡§πŸ‡ΏπŸ‡§πŸ‡ΏπŸ‡§πŸ‡ΏπŸ‡§πŸ‡ΏπŸ‡§πŸ‡ΏπŸ‡§πŸ‡ΏπŸ‡§πŸ‡ΏπŸ‡§πŸ‡ΏπŸ‡§πŸ‡ΏπŸ‡§πŸ‡Ώ ...
2017-03-11 07:04
Wildtracks Update: On World wildlife Day, we asked our volunteers, both young and young at heart, what they will pledge to > do as their "one thing" in 2017 to help wildlife when they return to their home countries. Here is a selection of their thoughts...

> Keep the beach and sea clean - volunteer for beach cleanups

> Walk more..use a bicycle more - reduce their pollution footprint

> Give up meat for at least two days a week

> Not eating fish that aren't caught sustainably - and being informed

> Volunteer at a local wildlife rescue centre or with wildlife education / awareness programmes

> Donate to wildlife conservation organizations that make difference

> Save animal rescue number in phone for easy access

> Reporting illegal wildlife pets

> Adopt a Reduce - Reuse - Recycle philosophy

> Following best practices when travelling in Belize - not touching corals, sharks and rays or using non-recommended sunscreen while snorkeling, or feeding wildlife

> Hold a yoga retreat as a wildlife / ocean awareness fundraiser

> Volunteer for a community science / community researcher programme to help gather data on wildlife populations

> Volunteer with a programme that plants trees

> Stop buying / using plastic bags

> Encourage people to learn about wildlife through documentaries and social media posts
Wildtracks Wildtracks Update: Happy World Wildlife Day!! Do one thing for wildlife today...and let us know what you have done!
2017-03-06 11:45
Wildtracks Update: A classic photo of one of Belize's iconic marine mammals - the Antillean manatee, by one of Belize's most talented wildlife photographers, Tony Rath.

Belize has the reputation of being a haven for this species. However, despite this, there has been a rise in boat-caused mortality, particularly in the Belize River area. This has coincided with the increase in tourism-related boat traffic using the river, and non-compliance with slo-boat regulations.

Are you a boat captain using the Belize River? Slow down in the slow-boat zones!!

Are you a tour guide using the Belize River? Be the eyes for your boat captain, at the front of the boat. Watch out for manatees and advise him when they are around.

Are you a visitor, taking a Belize River tour? Ask your boat captain and tour guide to keep to the regulated speed limits. Let them know that you are aware that if they speed, they are putting manatees at risk.

#racingextinction #takingastandformanateestoday
2017-03-06 08:17
Wildtracks Update: Happy World Wildlife Day!!

Do one thing for wildlife today...and let us know what you have done!
2017-03-03 14:58
Wildtracks Link: There are four rehabilitation programmes in Belize, each with a different species/ species group focus. But all are focused on ensuring the long term viability of wildlife in Belize! We are delighted to be able to share this video highlighting the work of Belize Bird Rescue and its partners in ensuring that the endangered yellow headed parrot doesn't disappear from the pine savannahs of Belize.
Releasing Wild Yellow Head Parrots! - Tales of Scarlet Studios 2016 youtube.com In 2016, a team of conservationists, The Belize Bird Rescue, and Programme for Belize joined forces to protect endangered Yellow Headed parrots where they ar...
2017-03-03 09:22
Wildtracks Update: Meet Puck!

Puck's story illustrates the stress that can be involved in wildlife rehabilitation, and the strengths of partnerships...

Puck has just been surrendered into the Primate Rehabilitation Programme...a five month old endangered Yucatan black howler monkey. Like many young monkeys that come in, he and his mother were shot so that he could be caught as an illegal pet. How do we know this? Because he arrived with two shot gun pellets embedded in his body - one in his shoulder, and one in his skull.

Dr. Isabelle, at BWRC, took x-rays to assess the gravity of the situation...the x-rays revealed that for he will be OK for the next few months - the situation isn't immediately urgent, but they do need to come out soon.

However, the congestion from a recent respiratory infection returned, with Puck reacting to the gas anesthesia, waking up with congestion in his lungs, his gums blue and gasping breathes indicating that he wasn't getting enough oxygen into his body. He was quickly provided with oxygen, and started to recover over the next half an hour. His colour returned, and he seemed ready to return to Wildtracks.

On the way back, however, he started going downhill again, sneezing and gasping, and his gums and mouth turning blue. We were just passing the road to our rehab partners, Belize Bird Rescue, so called in for assistance - their facilities include oxygen, and after another twenty minutes, he started breathing normally and regained his normal, healthy colour. Within forty minutes, he was back to his healthy, playful self!

We would like to say a huge thank you to Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic and Belize Bird Rescue for all their help with Puck! We would also like to say a huge thank you to a recent donor (Joey and Dan...if you can pass this thanks on to them!), as we have been able to buy our own oxygen kit today - they have just made it possible for us to continue to build our capacity and facilities to address potentially critical situations like this in the future!
2017-03-01 19:31
Wildtracks Link: β€œThe living fabric of the world is slipping through our fingers without our showing much sign of caring,.” Biologists say half of all species could be extinct by end of century...

It is time to make a difference, a time to show that we care...don't stay back and expect everyone else to save species because that is how species become extinct. Do something today!

> Report wildlife crimes - in Belize, to the Forest Department
> Improve your knowledge of what wildlife crime is
> Talk about wildlife crime and how to address it with those around you - increase awareness and engage others in addressing wildlife crime
> Donate to an organization that fights extinction - I may be biased, by why not donate to Wildtracks!
Payal: office@wildtracksbelize.org - or if you are looking for the 501(c)(3) version, through the www.wildtracksuse.org website

Biologists say half of all species could be extinct by end of century theguardian.com Scientists at Vatican conference are searching for a solution to the manmade β€˜major extinction event’
2017-02-28 10:13
Wildtracks Update: We are always pleased to see students taking an interest in their natural resources, and particularly so when they join us for work experience. A huge thank you to Lissel Casteneda, Alanis Arana and Kaylee Kamul for joining the Manatee Rehabilitation Team for two days of hard work over the weekend - it was very much appreciated!! 2017-02-28 07:56
Wildtracks Update: Sam - before and after....

Earlier today we posted about Sam, one of the Yucatan black howler monkeys that has been through the rehabilitation programme and was released back into the wild in 2015. Since then, he has shifted groups, and has now joined up with one of the Barton Creek females, recently fathered his first young. Looking at the photos, it has brought back memories of his progress through the rehab process, from his confiscation and entry to Wildtracks as a mange-ridden, emaciated scrap, to the large, healthy, active adult howler that is now living free in the Fireburn Forest.

So here are Sam's "before and after photos! (thank you, Fanny, for the "after" photo).
2017-02-26 13:53
Wildlife Update: Born to be wild!

This is one of the new, wild-born babies at Fireburn, born to Sam and the Barton Creek translocation female...Yes! For those who missed the news earlier this year, Sam is a father!!

It is a tribute to the hard work of all the Wildtracks volunteers that have participated in the Primate Rehabilitation Programme, ensuring that the rehab monkeys are not just successful at surviving in the wild, but that they are able to bear and rear their own young....re-populating the Fireburn Forest and the North East Corridor!

Thank you, Fanny, for the photograph!
2017-02-26 11:28
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