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The Belize Zoo Tour Guide Training

Several sessions of a dynamic day-long workshop were held recently at The Belize Zoo for our nation’s tour guides.  Endorsed by the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), the tour guides, numbering one hundred in all, embarked on a day of fun and learning.

Given that The Belize Zoo is a “must visit” destination for these energetic  young professionals, the workshop started off with a history and mission of “The Best Little Zoo in the World”.   Then, all were provided with learning skills aimed at increasing their ability to identify the wildlife of Belize.  And while all participants are friendly and familiar with “Panama” the Harpy Eagle, the group was provided a valuable background about the work TBZ has undertaken aimed at conserving these rare and majestic eagles.    What a great addition this is to a tour guide’s bank of raptor conservation knowledge.

Excitement in the classroom included “guest professors”  Happy the Owl and Rose the Croc.   Both the Barn Owl and the Crocodile in Belize are frequently persecuted.  A not-so-nice myth has followed our beautiful Barn Owls for many years…”The bird of misery and evil” is such an unfair label.   Professor Happy the Owl taught all that his species kills more rats than any other animal on the planet.  All course participants had the opportunity to give Happy’s beak a rub, and in doing so, felt the ultra-softness of his feathers.

Rose the Croc broadened everyone’s view of the crocodiles which are found in Belizean waters.  They are top predators, and play an important role in seeing that the aquatic ecosystem  is balanced and stable.  All felt the smoothness of her reptilian skin, and were impressed by her calm demeanor.

A special zoo tour was used to introduce our amazing jaguars to the participants. Jaguar “Junior Buddy” enjoyed the attention, and showed off his swimming skills to all.  Jaguar “Rocky” brought a clear understanding to each tour guide about the zoo’s Problem Jaguar Rehabilitation Program.  “Rocky” happily gave each participant a very energetic “high-five”.  Black jaguar “Lucky Boy” thrilled everyone with his massive and beautiful presence.  And all learned that his ancestry is South American.  In that part of the world, Jaguars are easily twice the size of a Central American Jaguar.  “Lucky Boy” is much larger than any of our Jaguars at the zoo.

After discussions about preserving the natural world of Belize, the workshop came to an end late in the afternoon.  Very definitely Tremendous Tour Guide Training!  A big PAWS UP to all involved in this significant and successful program.



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