Ending 2016 with A Load of Croc!
“In the beginning of the month the CRC welcomed Danni Brianne, a crocodilian enthusiast and student who will be joining the CRC for 6 months assisting us in our crocodilian research, developing her Master’s project, as well as developing our Program Research Coordinator position that will be available to a Belizean College Student next scholastic year. Here is Danni’s blog of her first month with the CRC!”
December 2016 was a busy month with the preparation and kick off of the Belize Nationwide Survey. I flew in to Placencia on December 6th and was immediately thrown into helping prepare for the Morelet’s crocodile Nationwide Population Survey workshop with our partners that weekend. Prior to the survey, the CRC announced the countrywide crocodile survey on The Morning Show, with special guests from the CRC youth program on Caye Caulker, Next Gen Croc. We discussed how the community could participate in obtaining the data needed to create a crocodile management program for Belize. Our friend and colleague Shawn Heflick from Croc U also helped us out with the survey… even diving in a pond to help catch some problematic crocs. Always fun and interesting times when Shawn comes into town! Since the workshop, the CRC has been conducting habitat monitoring surveys in the Placencia Lagoon area, as well as conducting nocturnal eyeshine surveys. Every Thursday, along with Projects Abroad, we have performed crocodile
behavior surveys, followed by bird surveys on Friday evenings. Thursday croc behavior surveys have been exciting as we have been seeing the signs of courtship amongst crocodiles at our primary site. We have also dissected snails for Dr. Tellez’s biodiversity survey, finding some interesting trematode parasites. And interestingly enough… one
population had NO parasites, but instead what looked like nematode eggs! Further investigation will help us understand why the parasite species richness is so different from the southern to northern end of the Peninsula. With everything gearing up for the Morelet’s Nationwide survey we have busy times ahead. I am here as a student, intern, and friend, to help the CRC build a new internship position and aid in research. I look forward to being here for the next five months and helping the CRC with every endeavor!
Needless to say the CRC keeps their interns, students and colleagues busy! The New Year’s weekend we took a break from the research and work, getting some rest for the busy year ahead (and week as we start the New Year with a croc education tour with a group from Mercy College from Brooklyn, New York, United States, teaching a class at The Belize Zoo via CELA and heading off to Caye Caulker to do some training with our Next Gen Croc kids, as well as to do some research over at Blackadore Caye… and that’s all in the first week of January 2017!).