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The Belize Zoo slowly recovering after Lisa

GeneralThe Belize Zoo slowly recovering after Lisa

by Khaila Gentle

BELIZE CITY, Tues. Nov. 15, 2022

The Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center says that an outpouring of support from a range of organizations, businesses, and individuals has been instrumental in helping them to rebuild the “best little zoo in the world” after it sustained damage from Hurricane Lisa.

The Director of the Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center, Celso Poot, wrote in an update this week that several of the zoo’s animals have been returned to their habitats, including the Zoo’s oldest inhabitant, Rex the King Vulture, his partner, Sally, and their children Perfecto and Milagro.

On Wednesday, November 2, the passage of Hurricane Lisa left fallen trees and other debris strewn across much of the Belize District, including at the Belize Zoo. And while none of the animals were harmed, the Category 1 storm did cause damage to the zoo’s animal habitats as well as the many pathways winding through the compound. Since then, staff members have been hard at work, clearing paths and moving fallen trees, all while ensuring that the zoo’s inhabitants remain well taken care of.

Other animals that have successfully been returned to their enclosures include Hoodwink the Spectacled Owl, Mona Lisa the Mottled Owl, Panama the Harpy Eagle, Rainbow the Keel-Billed Toucan, and Archie the Tamandua.

Some members of the zoo’s small population of tapirs—Marchisimo, Fuego, Navidad, Sparks, Ceibo, Indy and Tambo—are all back in their usual areas as well.

While staff members continue to work towards ensuring the zoo is fit for reopening, some of the zoo’s animals, like ambassador jaguars Sylvia and Martin, have not yet been returned to their enclosures, which are still being cleared of debris or rebuilt.

“We continue to work tirelessly to get all our remaining animals restored to their spaces in the least time possible while taking into consideration the safety and security of all involved, both people, and animals,” said Poot.

“Special thanks to Belize Electricity Limited for restoring power when it was our turn. To our ‘IT Guy,’ James Lewis for restoring our internet network and security system. I feel incredibly fortunate to work with a staff who are always willing to do whatever it takes to make sure our critters are safe. To the crew who stayed behind, left their families, and weathered the storm with the animals: Humberto, Jose, Claudino, Filiberto, and Juan Carlos, thank you for being some of our true wildlife heroes,” he also added.

The Zoo will continue to share updates on their recovery via their social media pages. Those wishing to donate to the Belize Zoo’s recovery efforts can visit www.belizezoo.org and click the “Donate” button on the top right corner or call (501)6134966.

Photos courtesy The Belize Zoo & Tropical Education Center

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