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One Year Post Hurricane Richard: Look at us Now!

A year has passed since “The Best Little Zoo in the World” was devastated by Hurricane Richard.  Huge trees toppled, a few animals were “wind released”, and enclosures destroyed.  After our total zoo staff got over the enormous initial shock of destruction, we went to work to re-build this important institution.  What a task!  It quickly became evident, however, that the zoo has quite a few friends out there!   People volunteered their  time, hauling fallen debris out.  Others donated food for the animals, and all created an atmosphere of positive energy which fueled our daily, non-stop work..

Fundraising was necessary. It costs lots to re-build infrastructure which has been demolished.  Each day brought another challenge, another small step forward towards our dream of re-opening before the Christmas holiday of 2010.  On December 1st, a mere 44 days after being smacked hard by Hurricane Richard, we DID re-open!  And today, to our delight ,  we hear, repeatedly, that  “The zoo has never looked better!”

The King Vultures, our entry exhibit, are enjoying their very  own waterfall.  The Tapir enclosure has a lookout deck (which also works as a Happy Hour HQ).  The aerial walkway from the Harpy Eagle exhibit was beautifully lengthened, bringing our visitors very up close and eye-to-eye with the fun-loving Kinkajous.

Innovative enclosure strategies formed, too.  The Grison and the Tayra,  are members of the same family of animals, the Mustelids.  We put them together in an unfamiliar, much-upgraded, habitat.  It was exciting and totally terrific, watching as they enjoyed their new home together.  A big challenge was the wetlands exhibit.  Why?  We have two Jabiru storks, “Boomer” and” Coaster”, who, in their pre-Hurricane Richard exhibits, acted as if they would “fight to the finish”.   Our theory:  Change their habitat drastically, so that they are more absorbed in the new living quarters, than with each other.  It worked!  These two birds love their new home, and seem to have accepted one another.  Today, in their classy new enclosure, they act as if they are the best of friends.

It has been one year since the Hurricane Richard devastation.  We are now better than ever, and want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who stood by us during some of the most difficult days in Belize Zoo history.  We made it through, thanks to you!

 

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