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Belize Zoo Reopens Just 5 Weeks After Hurricane Disaster

Belize Zoo Reopens Just 5 Weeks After Hurricane Disaster

Care2 Readers: Last month, I posted a story about the Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center, which was devastated by Hurricane Richard and unsure about when it would open its gates to the public. Here’s an update on the restoration process…

The Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center is home to more than 125 animals of about 48 native species, all of which were orphaned, born at the zoo, rehabilitated, or sent as gifts from other zoological institutions.

Hurricane Richard leveled most of the vegetation at The Zoo, downed trees choked pathways among the animal exhibits, flattening wooden decks, platforms, crushing the steel fencing surrounding the animal exhibits, and damaging both plumbing and drainage systems.

The Zoo depends heavily on ticket sales to support its conservation and education programs, and although closing the doors was necessary for rebuilding, it was hard for Zoo founder Sharon Matola to do.

Now, thanks to the work of many volunteers and donations from all around the world, The Zoo is preparing to once again open its doors to guests.

“The work has been exhausting, but I see this as an opportunity for a new and better zoo,” Matola said.

The Belize Zoo will look different from the way it was before the hurricane.  The grounds have been cleared of the broken vegetation, enclosures repaired and rejuvenated.  Remnants of several huge trees brought down by the hurricane are being cleverly adapted as “lookouts” to view the animal exhibits.  Some exhibits will remain closed until upgrades are made.

Once the cleanup and emergency repairs are complete, raising funds to upgrade the facility to withstand future hurricanes will be a high priority.

You can help by going to to donate.

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Image Credit: The Belize Zoo

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8:22PM PST on Dec 2, 2010

Good news!

4:59PM PST on Dec 2, 2010

The Belize Zoo still is in desperate need of donations. The clean-up and repairs are very expensive and there is still much to be done. PLEASE MAKE A DONATION at BELIZEZOO.ORG - no amount is too small.
See the transcripts from 2 Belize Television newscasts from The Belize Zoo Reopening celebration: AND

8:47AM PST on Dec 2, 2010

Thanking 4 Good Info & Bless Creatures living in a Zoo.

9:24PM PST on Dec 1, 2010

Great! So glad to get some good news. Belize has always been pretty progressive in general.

7:07PM PST on Dec 1, 2010

I am thankful that people put in an effort to help the animals. It seems for a sanctuary than zoo - much nature, no concrete. Nothing is as ideal a true freedom but such has now become to dangerous for animals.

11:11AM PST on Dec 1, 2010

Great news! I'm so happy for them! Most times a zoo (or any other organization/business, etc.) wouldn't be able to bounce back so quickly after such a disaster. I wish them them the best of luck!

7:42AM PST on Dec 1, 2010

Good news

5:38AM PST on Dec 1, 2010

I don't like Zoo's but I am glad that someone is doing something to help the Animals that live there.

11:07PM PST on Nov 30, 2010

thank you

8:58PM PST on Nov 30, 2010

Do the "upgrades" mean the repaired enclosures are more like natural habitat than they were before? I hope so.

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