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Sensational September

“Here is a summary of the Crocodile Research Coalition’s (CRC) adventures in September, written by the CRC’s new Program Coordinator Miriam Boucher”

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Fern Gully

Well, I’m back! It’s hard to believe with all my travel back and forth to Belize that it’s been almost four years that I’ve been working here. This trip however, I’m even more excited to be joining the CRC in Belize because I finished my Master’s degree and am taking over as the new Program Coordinator. As always, there is never a dull moment with the CRC.

We kicked September off with the arrival of our intern Marc aka. Frenchie. Marc joined us all the way from Luxembourg, Europe. Marc hit the ground running as we put him to work right away. At one of our sites there are two waterways that exit into the Placencia Lagoon. One is a fairly clear straight shot, and the other, well… An adventure. Exploring the “Fern Gully” channel has been a personal goal of mine and with Marc’s help and a couple volunteers from Projects Abroad we got to work. Working from kayaks we cleared tiger fern leaves, sticks, and logs from the channel to make it more passable. It was a fantastic adventure and we were treated to an up-close and personal viewing of a pygmy kingfisher foraging. Following our adventure we gave Marc his first taste of croc work by conducting a routine eyeshine survey of the field site.

That weekend Marc, Bets, and myself headed off to Caye Caulker to kick off training for

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Next Gen Croc 2017!

the newest Next Gen Croc recruits. We gave an educational presentation to a group of high school students outlining crocodile ecology and the CRC’s work. The next two nights we took our new recruits out with the help of Captain Tony from FAMRAAC to teach them about crocodile population monitoring and crocodile habitat. We had an AWESOME time with a FANTASTIC set of students. Their enthusiasm and interest in all things croc was so refreshing and really impressive. Their positive energy must have transferred to the croc because both nights we has some really excellent viewing of resident Caye Caulker American crocodiles.

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Crocodylus moreletii

Marc’s second week of CRC work was no less exciting. We went out for another day of croc habitat exploration down Fern Gully and made it to a piece of seemingly pristine forest. There we saw all manner of fish, crabs, frogs, bats, and birds. The two of us were left in awe of this amazing find. Marc also got the opportunity to join the CRC and The Keep in surveying for hatchlings on the Sittee River. We also went out for a capture survey with SEA on the Monkey River and made plans for a CROCtober education event for the community there. It was non stop croc during Marc’s internship and we got to cap it off with a day off spent hiking to and lounging at Tiger Fern Falls in the Cockscomb Jaguar Preserve. Our team had a blast with Marc and we are definitely looking forward to hopefully seeing him again in the future.

To end our September month Marisa and I headed to Punta Gorda to do a capture survey

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Frankenstein the American crocodile 

of the Rio Grande. We teamed up with the Toledo Institute for Development and the Environment and made an interesting find. During our survey we encountered few crocs but the 3-footer we captured was something out of Frankenstein’s lab. He has no teeth, a severed overbite, flat osteoderms, and a webbed tail. Definitely a freaky fellow. We think that the physical irregularities may be the result of him being a hybrid. You’ll just have to wait for the genetic results to find out though.

Oh, and one more thing….. GRANTS! Since my arrival in mid-August, Marisa and I have been cranking out grant proposals like they’re going out of style. The CRC has big things planned and with the help of these grants we are sure to make them happen. Stay tuned for updates and highlights of our continued croc crusades!