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Recently, two very sad events happened in Belize City.  At The Belize Zoo, we were informed that a Barn Owl, somehow trapped in a small building, was needing rescue.  The zoo crew was ready to leave and assist the “Owl at Risk”, and see that this situation had a happy ending….Unfortunately, word got out about this Barn Owl, and before the hour was up, the Barn Owl was beaten to death.  Not only a beautiful bird gone from our urban ecology scene, but a vitally important bird who contributes to keeping the city in a healthy natural state?  How?  Barn Owls eat  MOUNTAINS  of Charlie Price!!!  They have a very undeserved reputation of being “the bird of evil and misery”.   Nothing could be further from the truth.  To add to the bad news, Barn Owls mate for life.  It is very likely that the gone-forever Barn Owl left behind a mate, an owl who has had its natural behavior distorted and confused.

Certainly, we can do better than this as citizens of Belize.  Happy the Owl, our Ambassador Barn Owl, recently brought the magic of his species into the classroom at Wesley College.  Over 100 students enjoyed learning about Barn Owls, and the important role they play right there in their city.  We know that they shared this information and their fun experience with friends and relatives.


More bad news.    Shortly after this sad Barn Owl incident, a stunning Boa Constrictor, “Wowla” was cruelly beaten to death on the streets of Belize City.  Writhing in pain, the snake was taken to The Belize Zoo, a huge gash on its upper body.  However, it died before reaching the zoo for intense first aid and “Wowla Rehab”.  Again, an innocent and ecologically beneficial creature met a cruel and unnecessary ending.  The Boa Constrictor is also an enthusiastic rat-eating animal.  We are lucky to have Boa Constrictors sharing our land with us.  They are not venomous.  They are ecological “good guys” deserving praise and protection.

What is the next step?  The Education Department at The Belize Zoo will put forward a Belize City – wide program, with the aim of visiting most of the schools in our largest populated urban area.  Happy the Owl, and Bal Boa, our Boa Constrictor, will assist an interesting education presentation, aimed at increasing the awareness of students and their teachers, about the critically important role these special animals play in our lives.  Belizeans of the future certainly deserve to share their country with animals of the natural world which so many other countries simply do not have.  THE GREATNESS OF A NATION AND ITS MORAL PROGRESS CAN BE JUDGED BYTHE WAY ITS ANIMALS ARE TREATED…these are the words of Mahatma Gandhi.  Let’s do the right thing.

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