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30 Years Old and Soaring!

The Belize Zoo has been a part of the nation’s profile for thirty years now.  And, to celebrate this important time, a special event was held on the 12th day, of the 12th month of 2012.  And of course, it began at 12 noon!

There were three major projects unveiled for public view.  First, after a history of the zoo was presented by Founding Director Sharon Matola, all were entertained by the “gibnuts”, the pre-school children from La Democracia village.  They crooned “The Lucky Boy Song.”

USA Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally together with area representative, Dolores Balderamos, cut the ribbon to the newly-rejuvenated Gerald Durrell Visitor’s Centre.   Inside the building is an impressive education classroom, “Uppie’s Classroom”.  This will soon be a center of fun education activities for many of the schoolchildren who visit the zoo.    The zoo used this historic day to highlight a progressive education effort, the promotion of a book entitled, PAT THE GREAT CAT.  Written by students in Belize and in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the book features the stately jaguar, and the problems that these cats face as time passes.  Pat is actually from Belize and was a graduate of the zoo’s Problem Jaguar Rehabilitation Program.  Once a cattle killer, Pat now lives happily in the Milwaukee Zoo with his mate, Stella.   On the 13th of November, Pat and Stella became the proud parents of two jaguar cubs.

The crowd moved outside to watch as Jerome Flores and his 91 year old friend representing the Belize Council for the Ageing, cut the ribbon to the stunning new SHED pathways.  SHED stands for Stroller-Handicap-Elderly-Disabled friendly pathway.  And are they ever!  There were about ten wheelchair-bound people at the zoo’s important celebration.  And big, BIG smiles were on all of their faces, as they happily cruised around the zoo in their wheelchairs.

Then,  all excitedly headed to see the one and only Lucky Boy.  This special day was Lucky Boy’s first day where he could be seen by his many fans.  How did the handsome and robust fellow react?  Lucky Boy did not disappoint the crowd in the least.   After Hon. Minister Lisel Alamilla and Wildlife Officer Jazmin Ramos cut the ribbon leading to Lucky Boy’s exhibit, he happily trundled over to greet the crowd.

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