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Our Ruins... Our Wildlife


The baby tapir pictured here was named “Fuego” by our staff.  It is a tradition at The Belize Zoo to give our zoo animals a name which recalls their profile or history.   Sadly, “Fuego” was left an orphan in the western part of Belize, a victim of the endlessly burning bush fires.  Discovered amidst the burnt out forest, he was crying out in distress.  A kind man found him, but let him be….Returning to the same location much later, he found “Fuego” still there.  And still making calls of distress.

The man brought the baby tapir to the zoo.  The still striped and spotted “mini mountain cow” was given immediate care to reduce his stress level, and then formula was prepared for him.   The fires which are obnoxiously present daily in the west, are taking their flaming toll.  “Fuego” is just one of many species of our nation’s wildlife painfully affected by these fires.  It is common knowledge that many bush fires are set on purpose, for no other reason than to watch the land burn.   Breathe in the air…..and consider just how pitiful it is that we allow this burning to continue unchecked.  Think of our children breathing in smoke on a daily level.  Good for them? We will provide “Fuego” with a fine home.  But the better option would have been for him to still be ambling about in the forest with his mother.

As the west burns, northern Belize is outraged over the destruction of the Maya ruin, Noh Mul.  All agree that this was irresponsible and a disgusting display of shallow thinking tempered with greed.  Put on your memory caps.  When the unsound hydro-project, Chalillo Dam, was on the drawing boards, professional archeologists presented work to various officials in Belize, showing the extraordinary ancient Maya ruins in that area.  Causeways connecting sites, temples overlooking the Raspaculo river, even painted walls were all part of the Maya magic which existed prior to the construction of the Chalillo Dam.  Noted archaeologists, Elizabeth Graham, for one, urged dam proponents to turn their backs on this project.  Too much important history would be lost forever.  Remarkably, people in positions who could have been influential in halting this development, remained silent.   Why wasn’t an outrage heard then?

Here is what we could have had in the area which was devastated by the Chalillo Dam:   A clean river, Maya sites to visit, and flocks of scarlet macaws flying overhead to remind us that Belize lays claim to some of the most vibrant  and unique lands in all of Central America.  Instead, the wildlife and the ruins, both which called that river valley home, are gone forever.
The natural and cultural resources in Belize deserve protection and stewardship fit for the finest and the best.  Because, simply, that’s what they are.


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