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Partners and Friends: A Trip to BioUniverZoo, Chetumal

Belize Zoo and BioUniverZoo officials in ChetumalRecently, officials from The Belize Zoo were warmly welcomed to BioUniverZoo, located just across our northern border, in Chetumal, Mexico. Zoo Director Lesley Paola Martinez Ramirez, joined by some of her staff, provided a royal tour of their zoo.  So impressive!!  Just like The Belize Zoo,  BioUniverZoo features animals only native to the area, and strongly stresses the vital need to preserve them for the future.

In past months, Director Lesley shared with us photos of a rescued young tapir, “Umo” (Spanish for smoke).  Umo had been caught in a forest fire, and showed serious injury.  We all inquired about the tapir, and the BioUniverZoo crew eagerly wanted to show how he had recovered.  And what a recovery!  He is fit, strong, and visibly enjoying the care constantly received from the animal management staff.
Our interest in their pathway construction has helped us direct our own pathway development for Belize Zoo’s transformation into a handicap/disabled/elderly friendly facility. Much appreciated!
Enrichment training that day starring their beautiful pair of black jaguars, Sombra and Yumaca, was shared with us, too.  What fun!  The trainer had a coconut tied to a rope and tossed it back and forth above a big swimming pool for the happy cats.  The jaguars dove after it with obvious glee.  Back on home territory, we offered the same joyful coconut romp to our very own Junior Buddy.  He was one happy jaguar, jumping and climbing and finally, getting his “prey”.  Junior chomped the coconut into shreds and stood proudly to show us that “he won”.
Most important to Belize Zoo officials, is seeing that Director Lesley and her colleagues, will sometime in the near future,  journey to The Belize Zoo and share time with us.  We will be in a high-hospitality mode and eager to share our zoo, and this part of Belize, with them.  Theirs is truly a remarkable facility, and we are proud and happy to be partners and friends with BioUniverZoo.

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