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:
- Wildlife Veterinary Clinic/Rehabilitation Center: The CRC has become the Wildlife Triage and Response Team in southern Belize and we understand the urgency for a wildlife clinic in southern Belize (currently there is only 1 in the whole country located in San Ignacio). We have teamed up with the Placencia Humane Society and we will be working together to create a fully functional wildlife veterinary clinic that can also act as a 24/7 urgent care facility for cats and dogs. The Placencia Humane Society (PHS) has already secured a lot and infrastructure on the Placencia Peninsula, and CRC is now gathering equipment and organizing a veterinary staff. We will have some rehab enclosures on site of the clinic for small animals, but most rehabilitation enclosures (such as for crocodiles or injured manatee) will be onsite at the CRC land. The CRC along with PHS are excited to have the expertise and equipment to better respond to injured or ill wildlife, and help stabilize wildlife prior to transport to the most appropriate rehabilitation center in-country.
- 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 3 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 area.
- 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. Originally planned to be on the CRC land, CRC has decided to look for property elsewhere on the lagoon to minimize development on the current 25 acres.
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:
The financial constraints posed by Covid has slowed down the progress of infrastructure at the CRC facility. We will be working with our partners Crocodile Encounter to move forward on obtaining the necessary finances to create a facility within the first 6 months of 2022.