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“Hurricane” Betsy: A Belize Zoo Hero

The absolute perfect “other name” for Dr. Elizabeth Mallory, is “Hurricane Betsy”.  Never has anyone had such a strong and positive affect on our growing Tropical Education Center, TEC,  than Dr. Mallory.


The savanna trails winding through the property have seen massive improvements.  Bird baths are up and providing bathing time for many of the feathered visitors who frequent the TEC, and Betsy even has a hardcore hummingbird fan club.  Knowing that she is “in charge” of the much-beloved hummingbird feeder…Betsy is always followed and surrounded by her hummingbird friends in the early morning hours.

Achievements do not just involve infrastructure improvements.  Training the TEC staff in fire management techniques and proper trail maintenance was appreciated by everyone.  Controlled burning of certain parts of the pine savanna allows for healthy regeneration and keeps the terrain from becoming a “tinder box” , for out-of-control wildfires.

Noting that many of the TEC visitors enjoyed learning about the savanna vegetation, Dr. Mallory has spent countless hours collecting, identifying and labeling unique flora found in this habitat.  Surprise!  One of the plants collected and identified was noted as a NEW SPECIES for Belize!  This significant find was applauded and proudly spoken about for days.

Dr. Mallory’s diligent tracking of the Endangered yellow-headed parrot revealed important location information about these rare birds.  They do nest in this very area, and in the mornings and evenings hearing and observing such a beautiful and uncommon parrot is always a memorable experience.

Dr. Mallory has a long and productive history in Belize.  She was one of the first scientists to explore the Bladen Nature Reserve, and in fact, assisted in establishing the first trail system in that vital part of tropical forest.  Dr. Mallory is much of a legend in the Rio Bravo area.  Her ornithology work there, as well as the training of young Belizeans interested in the field of conservation and natural resources management, are still glowingly spoken about.

Betsy has been a steadfast Belize Zoo supporter for many years.  Our entire staff feels fortunate to have her invaluable input as a Category 5 Hurricane of knowledge and positive change, here at The Best Little Zoo in the World.

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