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 www.belizezoo.org to donate.
Image Credit: The Belize Zoo