This past weekend I went to the zoo with a fellow Cuso volunteer. I understand that many opinions come up around the subject of animal captivity. Is it ethical? Shouldn’t the animals roam free in the wild? I would say absolutely! If many humans didn’t carry the mindset of destroying a species to define their own existence or add more zeros to the end of their bank balance. But what if the idea of zoo stepped away from captivity to rehabilitate? Instead of the idea that they are caged, we change the idea to orphanage. That is what the Zoo of Belize has done, and pretty well.
All the animals are native to the country and are taken to the zoo for rehabilitation or adoption due to an injury and unable to survive in the wild. It’s a beautiful and well established place with a lot of lush and shade – felt like going through a botanical garden at the same time.
The zoo has included a creative touch to the place with animal descriptions written in first person and rhyming (sort of like Dr. Seuss) which is great for the children. But I have to admit, I enjoyed reading them too.
One aspect of the zoo I did not expect were animals and reptiles that roamed around the zoo boundaries (nothing dangerous). Saw a few iguanas (again), snakes (not venomous), birds, too many red fire ants, and an Agouti. Other animals that are brought into the sanctuary are of the following: Black jaguar, Harpy Eagle, crocodiles, toucans, macaw parrots, ocelot, spider and howler monkeys, tapir, mountain lion, coatimundi, king vulture, and jabiru (huge stork) – just to name a few.
The Belize zoo is also partnered with the tropical education center and together work to bring the people of Belize closer to the animals which are their natural heritage and feel proud of these special resources (source: http://www.belizezoo.org/index.php )