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Baboon Sanctuary in Belize

Belize Animal Sanctuary
The Baboon Sanctuary was established to protect the local population of Black Howler Monkeys through community participation in appropriate land management. The Community Baboon Sanctuary on the banks of the Belize River is located some thirty miles west of Belize City off the Northern Highway in the Belize District. Consisting of some eighteen square miles of basically subsistence farms, the sanctuary exhibits the spirit of coexistence that Belizeans have with nature. The Black Howler Monkey is the main species of interest in the reserve. A total of 28 troops were identified in the area in 1985. The Howler population has grown from 840 at this point to over 1000 by 1988. Territories are occupied by anything from a single animal to groups of 10. With increasing habitat destruction, this primate is becoming increasingly threatened.
The Sanctuary was established and visited by primate researchers in 1981, whose follow up studies highlighted the higher densities of Black Howler Monkey associated with riparian rather than other types of forest . After initial consultation with the villagers in 1984, an application was made to WWF USA in 1985 for funds to set up the reserve.
Local landowners and the Bermudian Landing Village Council signed a voluntary management agreement in 1985, with technical support provided by R- Horwich of Community Conservation Consultants (TJSA). The reserve has expanded since, to 11520 acres in 1986 (about 60 land owners) as more landowners have joined the project and committed themselves to the land management practices winch accommodate the Howler monkey (known as baboons in Creole).
By March 1987, 6 other villages in the area were party to the agreement and there are now 70 land owners who have signed the voluntary pledge, and 30 others who cooperate with it In addition to Bermudian Landing, the other settlements involved are Flowers Bank, Isabella Bank, Big Falls/St Pauls Bank, Willows Bank, Double Head Cabbage, and Scotland Halfmoon.
A variety of other mammals are found in the reserve or nearby, including Bird’s Tapir and the Jaguarundi. Reptiles include Morelet’s Crocodile, Iguana and the Central American River Turtle. Local people report that deer are beginning to re-appear and that birds are becoming more abundant Whilst 59 species of birds were recorded by Zisman in 1989, the number identified with increased investigation has risen to 250.

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April 8, 2010 Posted by | Tourism | , , , , | 3 Comments