CRC RESEARCH, REHABILITATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE CENTER
How It Works
In November 2019, the CRC secured 25 acres on the western side of Placencia Lagoon in an area known as Flower Camp, historically known for its abundance of wildlife which includes jaguar, tapir, various raptors, as well as prime habitat for crocodile nesting and manatee breeding. This was all made possible through the partnership with Chris Dieter from Crocodile Encounter in Texas, USA, and Ryan Blakely. Through their assistance, the CRC made the first giant step in their vision of creating the CRC Research, Rehabilitation, and Environmental Science Center.
Our plan is to restore part of the forest that was lost due to previous development and develop only 5 acres for the facility. Additionally, we will have access to another 35 acres and right of first refusal, which can lead to managing a total of 60 acres one day. The current CRC land is surrounded by private land and reserves whose owners have dedicated in securing undeveloped land for both flora and fauna. The acquisition of our land provides further security for some of the endangered wildlife in the area, providing a missing piece to a biological corridor on the western side of the Placencia Lagoon.
The full vision of the CRC facility will include the following:
- A Welcome/Environmental Science Center: want to learn more about the wildlife and habitats of Belize with a hands-on twist? This center is inspired by many of the Children Science Museums in the United State and in Europe where there are interactive displays in which kids (of all ages!) can have fun learning about science! To our knowledge, this will be the first science museum/center in Belize.
- Wildlife Veterinary Clinic/Rehabilitation Center: The CRC has become the Wildlife Triage and Response Team in southern Belize and understand the urgency for a wildlife clinic in southern Belize (currently there is only 1 in the whole country located in San Ignacio). Thus, we will have a wildlife veterinary clinic that can take care not only of crocs, but other wildlife that may be injured in the area. Rehabilitation enclosures for crocs, a temporary manatee enclosure and other rehab facility needs will be established so we can support emergency cases and be of assistance to our other rehabilitation partners elsewhere in-country. We are already receiving supplies and equipment from a few private veterinarians, in addition have received support from the veterinarian team from the Santa Barbara Zoo, USA.
- Research Laboratory: What’s the CRC up to in research? A viewing deck will allow visitors to observe some of the laboratory research CRC conducts. The CRC is already in contact with a few international universities for certain equipment, such as the equipment needed to analyze heavy metal samples in water and tissue samples as well as a PCR to conduct basic genetics. Having such equipment will accelerate the amount of conservation research in-country as the majority of samples have to be exported outside the country, which slows the progress of any conservation and management action plans.
- Captive Crocodile Enclosures: The CRC currently has 4 Crocodile Ambassadors that cannot be released back into the wild. With these Ambassadors, we intend to educate guests through guided education tours, discussing the FACTS about crocodiles, squashing the myths and misguided beliefs that unfortunately cause abuse towards crocodiles (and other animals).
- Nature Trails: Throughout the property a few nature trails will be created for day and night tours. Tours will be made through DTourz. Various eco-conscious tours will be created to provide experience and education about some of the amazing flora and fauna that can be encountered in the Flower Camp area.
The CRC is very excited in this huge leap towards conservation efforts and long-term sustainable management of the Placencia Lagoon as the lagoon is a unique treasure- from crocs to manatee, from sea turtles to a potential pupping ground for sharks, in additional to supporting a migration of cownose rays as well as migratory birds, the CRC hopes that are facility can educate residents and visitors alike, inspiring a feeling of pride and stewardship to protect nature near and afar for both wildlife and communities.
Progress Update on CRC Center:
Thanks to donations from South Florida's AZA Chapter, the European Nature Trust, and Lister Charitable Trust, CRC began construction of captive and rehab crocodile enclosures. One enclosure has been completed known as Endor, a rehab enclosure for small crocodiles. Currently, one rehab croc known as Pig Pen is in the enclosure. Pig Pen is under observation to assess his ability to heal from chronic pollutant exposure of the New River. Check out his story here
July 2020: CRC has posted signs around the land, as well as has marked out croc enclosures. Enclosures should be done by mid-August.
If you have an interest in donating or sponsoring towards the CRC, or learning more about the facility vision, please contact Executive Director Dr. Marisa Tellez at email@example.com