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Friday, November 13, 2009

Belizean Wildlife - Beauty and the Beast Harmonized ~ "Amazing" Seal



brought to you by: AHMTRAVEL.COM

by: Melissa Snyte

A rich and diverse green spread across all Belizean land is home to a diverse and amazing species of birds, animals and reptiles. Belize is a great mix having a well preserved wildlife on one side, and the blue Caribbean waters caressing on the other.

Visit the Belize Zoo

The different species of wildlife that share this country find their place in the Belize Zoo. Spread over 29 acres of tropical savanna, this zoo is home to over 125 species of animals found on Belizean land. A visit to the zoo is one of the best ways of getting to know Belize wildlife.

Most of the animals kept here are either, orphaned, born at the zoo, rehabilitated animals, or sent as gifts from other zoological institutions. This zoo also acts as a dynamic wildlife education center. This project started in the year 1983 as a last ditch effort for saving the collection of wild animals found in these tropical forests.

Preserving Belizean Wildlife

In 1982, owing to past successful associations, the national government approached the Belize Audubon Society, a pre-eminent environmental organization of Belize, with an important and mutually beneficial offer for conservation of Belizean Wildlife. The democratically elected Belizean government has always been eco-sensitive, understanding the needs for conservation and preserving Belizean Wildlife.

This agreement entitled the society to use their highly motivated conservation expertise to administer, manage and protect six major national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. The sensitive job thus handed over to experts has very well been taken care of by the Belize Audubon Society, (BAS).

Conservation - A Stitch in Time

The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, The Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, The Half Moon Caye Natural Monument, Guanacaste National Park, The Blue Hole National Park and The Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve have been kept and efficiently preserved by the BAS. This has also been able to give a major boost for the Belize Tourism industry.

The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary

A unique sanctuary initiated by the efforts of one person is in the south of Belize covering 150 square miles of tropical forest land. It was declared a Forest Preserve in 1984, and finally declared a Jaguar Preserve in the year 1986. This is house to not only the Jaguars but a variety of wildlife, including birds, animals, fauna and flora. Rare species of birds like the Macaw, Great Curassow, and Keel-billed Toucau are common sights.

Being eco-conscious is a wonderful way of preserving all life. Belize has demonstrated how this can be utilized to contribute for the development of the economy as well.

The Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary

The name of this wildlife sanctuary is derived from the native cashew trees abundantly found in the region. This sanctuary is home to a number of bird species, and lagoons normally found everywhere. This sanctuary is great for the bird-watcher and is ideally situated on the west side of the northern highway at Mile 33,

A mosaic of elongated lagoons, connected by creeks, savannas and logwood thickets will bring you close to huge congregations of Double Crested Cormorants, Egrets, Herons and ducks. With good luck, and timing you will also find The Jabiru Stork, and the Peregrine, the world's fastest falcon.

Another spectacle is the Snail Kites, feeding on Apple Snails and hovering around the sanctuary all year round. Other permanent inhabitants include Belizean Kingfishers, the Muscovy, and Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, and Boat-billed Herons.

Look out for crocodiles, turtles and iguanas around water-bodies, and bright red Vermilion Flycatcher sitting on fence posts waiting for insects.

The Half Moon Caye Natural Monument

This island is an enchanting paradise. In marine realm, this natural monument is spectacular encompassing a dramatic reef wall dropping to a depth of 1000 yards. The orange flowered Zaricote tree is one of the 40 species of Flora & Fauna found on this island; this is also home to the three turtle species abundantly found on the island.

Apart from the birds, the other inhabitants of the Half Moon are the lizards and gecko populations. The grey and black Spiny-tailed Iguana (or Wish-Willy), the Green Iguana, the Brown Anole, the Green Anole, and the Belizean Atoll Gecko are abundantly found around the caye.

Over 120 species of birds are found at the Half Moon Caye. These include the Red-footed Boobies, distinctly white, instead of brown, and only found on this island. This Magnificent Frigate Bird is a resident while most others are migrants.

Guanacaste National Park

This is a 50 acre protected area right at the centre of Belize. A package of tropical rainforest paradise on the northern side of the western highway, deriving the name from the Guanacaste, or tubroos trees growing near the south-western edge.

The mammal record within the park includes Jaguarundi, Kinkajou, Paca, Armadillo, Agouti, White-tailed deer, and several species of Bats, Rats and Opossum. The Four-footed Iguanas and over 100 species of birds make up this dense paradise.

The Blue Hole National Park

This park is spread over 665 acres consisting mainly of broad-leaf forest cover and caves. The site has a well developed landscape. The Blue Hole is at the north-east corner of the park, while St. Herman's is at the south-west. These two are however apparently connected by an apparent stream.

St. Herman's is the base of a large sink hole with a main passage that exceeds 50-50 in height at places and about 100 feet wide.

The park's wildlife has not been systematically studied, but generally 66 species of birds were recorded during a single day while walking the site's trail. Vegetation is secondary, low forest rich in lime loving species, with some regeneration of mahogany are however found.

The Tapir Mountain Nature Reserve

The goals of the reserve are:

* To retain in perpetuity a portion of the northern Maya Mountain foothills eco-systems.
* To provide opportunities for scientific studies.
* To protect the area's biodiversity through community development programs.


Located at the foothills of the Maya mountains, the reserve also contains cave systems, sink holes and Mayan ruins. However this nature reserve is not open to the public.

TMNR however sustains a diverse wildlife population. The Baird's Tapir, the White-lipped Peccary, Anteater, Paca (Gibnut), Coati, the Gray Fox, the Gray Squirrel, the Four-eyed Opossum, White-tail and Brocket Deer, Puma, Kinkajou, Bats and Armadillos are all abundantly found. A survey identified 129 species of migratory and resident birds, including the Blue-crowned Motmot, the Spectacled Owl and the Great Currasow. Reptiles include the Iguana, Green Snake, Black tail Indigo, Fer-de-lance, Coral Snakes and Boa Constrictors.

Many Reasons for Belize Travel

From the Blue Seas full of corals and rich marine life, to the thick, and lush green tropical rainforest cover filled with a healthy and thriving wildlife, Belize is calling, as a natural paradise.

There are more reasons for travelling to Belize. No matter what you like, Belize will never disappoint.

Melissa Snyte is a back-packer who lives off her ultra-light folding bike. She lives (or tries to live) in the state of Washington - with her dog Toobs. She recently caught up with Larry Schneider of Eco Holdings Limited in relation to the eco-friendly tourism & real estate in Belize.

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