As many of parts of the world have witnessed, animals are on the move with the lack of human traffic due to COVID-19 quarantine restrictions. Mix that in with rains and animal baby season, and you have before you the perfect storm in a height of wildlife rescues! Let’s talk croc first….
Jeff, just your friendly neighborhood croc!
With the rain, smaller bodies of water such as creeks, canals and ponds start to fill up and crocs will start using these new “water highways” to move around OR they will use their keen sense in detecting water to transverse over land to establish territory in a new area. Jeff was likely following the fish that were entering this once dried up little canal, and by the time we got there he was hiding in a culvert.
Our Jr. Croc Experts (two young neighborhood kids who have been observing Jeff for the last 2 years) would tell you: 1) Jeff is scared of people. Once he hears people, he hides or swims off, and 2) Jeff loves eating fish, and occasionally will get a larger meal of a raccoon or iguana that gets too close to the shore or goes for a swim during the prime croc feeding hours of 5am-8am and 5pm-7pm.
At the moment of our arrival, Jeff felt trapped. Over an hour of education with other neighbors discussing THE FACTS about crocs, and discussing with a few other community members who have observed Jeff’s daily fishing, everyone decided it was a good idea to leave him alone and let Jeff move out of the canal on his own.
Wildlife Champions to the rescue!
“You give me hope that our people still care about our [natural] resources.”
Towards the end of the month we received photos and information from Orange Walk of workers who found some stranded small crocs on land far from any water source. Morelet’s crocodiles are known to walk on land to find another source of water, and with the recent bits of rain these young crocs likely got a bit more bold to find another pond. Luckily, they had some help from some workers and other local Wildlife Champions like Elisa Castellanos to find their way back to the water.
Birds, reptiles, mammals, OH MY!
So what can happen within 36 hours? Well, we responded to a fledgling Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl found helpless on the ground in Orange Walk Town, but released it back to its family shortly after its discovery thanks to the advice from our friends at Belize Raptor Center (happy to say the owl was reunited with its family). We also received a call in Placencia Village on the same day about a sick raccoon, which was rescued and taken to get veterinarian attention, and later in the afternoon responded to relocating a Boa Constrictor. Lastly, we assisted our friends at Belize Bird Rescue (BBR) picking up and transporting 4 orphaned baby barn owls found at a banana farm. We transported the owls to BBR so that they could receive the care needed until they could fly on their own.
Wild Wednesday Month Highlight- MANGO!!!!
It’s that time of the year that everyone looks forward too, mangos! The species of mango Mangifera indica was introduced into the Caribbean in the 1700s and spread quickly across the region, including here in Belize.
There are about 500 different varieties of mango; some common mangos found in Belize are Judgewig, Blue Mango, Julie, Slipper Mango, Manilla, and Thundershock. However the most common varieties that are grafted are the Haden, Kent, Tommy and Atkins. These varieties normally have good size, taste, appearance and a long shelf life which makes it the preferred fruit for the supermarket and exportation. Most Belizeans anxiously await the mango season; when driving through the village you will spot a lot of mango trees and even kids enjoying their mangos on their way home. Belizeans enjoy mangos for many months since we can eat them when they are “green”, “turn”, “ripe”, and “over ripe” in jams and jellies. You can also find many squirrels, iguanas and many other enjoying the tropical fruit as much as people do!
Mango trees can be identified by small pink flowers covering the trees beginning in January. These Mango trees live up 250-300 years, they grow up to 20-45mt in height. These blossoms transform into tiny green mangoes around May then slowly fill out and acquire a reddish tint in readiness for the rain showers in June (many would say the rain puts the ripening touch to a mango).
Starting June CRC will begin some field work so stay tuned for some crocin’ exciting updates from the field!