Kathleen with her 1st American croc from the Placencia Lagoon. All research is permitted by the Belize Forest Department

This month’s A Load of Croc is written by long-term volunteer Kathleen Hasler who gives a nice summary of how she sank her teeth into conservation with the CRC!

I had spoken to Marisa throughout the end of 2020, as I was helping her with her research on Patterns of Paratrichosoma infection in Belizean crocodiles. Several months later, I was finally getting to meet the woman behind the screen and the rest of the Crocodile Research Coalition team.  I remember not being able to sleep the night before my flight to Belize. I was leaving Toronto at 5:00am and this would be my first time in Central America.

I came to Belize for the CRC eager to gain more experience in conservation and research. I am now leaving having assisted in the analysis of the first countrywide survey of the American crocodile in Belize (concentrating around the Placencia Lagoon primarily), and co-written a research paper examining bird distribution and vegetation cover throughout the Placencia Lagoon. Several times, I have gotten to watch the sunrise during our early morning bird surveys, kayak with crocodiles and camp in the most beautiful pine savanna after biodiversity survey hikes. I’ve learnt a lot from the CRC team, whether it be about local ecology, how to capture a crocodile or where to get the best street burritos, I have them to thank for my incredible time in Belize.

One of my favorite experiences was this past Mid-March, I was able to join Jane, CRC’s Research Coordinator, with the team at Wildtracks and the Foundation for Wildlife Conservation to participate in a howler monkey release at Runaway Creek.  The release, along with CRC’s projects, only further confirmed my passion for conservation and why I want to continue to work in this field. I am really thankful to have been able to contribute to such meaningful research during my time here. I hope to use the things I learnt here in Belize with the CRC to contribute to conservation research in my future career.

Howler Monkey Release