Outreach Highlight of the Month:
On Friday, March 13th, The Crocodile Research Coalition had the honor to attend the Reef Week outreach program at Placencia Village. We commemorate Reef Week to raise awareness on the importance of the Mesoamerican Reef on our economy, environment and Belizean culture. Although the reef itself is out of our jurisdiction, we are actively involved in the conservation of mangrove habitats which is key to ensuring a healthy and robust reef system which therefore provides a myriad of benefits for the Belizean society.
In addition to being a phenomenal nesting and breeding habitat for countless marine species and birds, mangroves act as a natural filtration system that and trap sediments, heavy metals, and other pollutants that would otherwise suffocate the reef as well as being remarkable carbon storage. Without mangroves, our seas would have no value. Hence, our goal was to educate the general public on the importance of mangrove forests, especially the children as to foster a generation of young environmental stewards.
Want to learn about what crocodiles eat? What two species of crocodiles live in Belize? Can we coexist with crocodiles?
Education is a powerful tool in furthering conservation. And it is not just education about why these animals are important for the ecosystem- it’s understanding the rich cultural aspect of wildlife in communities, such as how the ancient Maya civilization believed crocodiles were the only animals that connected the heavens, the earth, and the underworld. It’s understanding that much of human-crocodile conflict is usually initiated by humans (through feeding or harassment, or encroaching on their habitat). It’s understanding that conservation of wildlife also incorporates the role of becoming proper stewards of the environment and having empathy towards all living creatures.
Enjoy the various educational tools the CRC has to offer and make sure to check in as we continue to grow our education material!