Press Release – American Crocodile Education Sanctuary – October 4, 2011
– The American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES) and the Belize Vivarium are pleased to announce donations from The Summerlee Foundation to construct Morelet’s freshwater crocodile habitats at the new ‘ACES Educational Crocodile Eco-Sanctuary’ at Caribbean Shrimp Farm Ltd. in Ladyville and ‘The Belize Vivarium’ in Belmopan. Approved by the Belize Forest Department, the ACES 10,000 sq. ft. natural wetland containment area will allow for the rescue of about half of the Morelet’s crocs currently in need of relocation in Belize. The new ACES containment habitat will house approximately 15 crocs depending on their size, health condition, and demeanor. In addition, a holding pen or two will also be constructed for crocs needing quarantined or special care. The Vivarium’s facility will be similar.
ACES contacted the Summerlee Foundation back in July 2011 and described the need for a freshwater crocs’ rescue facility for some crocs in current need. Before the arson in September 2010 ACES could have rescued any Morelet’s in need immediately; however, the new facility in Ladyville is just getting started and thus far can only rescue saltwater tolerant American crocodiles. Mrs. Melanie Lambert, the Program Director for the Summerlee Foundation based out of the USA immediately responded and everyone began working together to make the new facilities a reality in order to rescue the freshwater crocodiles in need. “It’s so nice to work with people who put the animals’ best interests first rather than their own egos,” stated Melanie. Thanks to the generosity of the Summer Foundation several crocodiles that would have been euthanized now have the chance to survive. People will be able to visit the rescued crocs for educational tours to learn about crocodiles and their important role in keeping Belize’s wetland habitats healthy and in balance.
Created in 1988 by Dallas philanthropist Annie Lee Roberts, the Summerlee Foundation is a private, non-profit charitable foundation whose purposes are restricted to programs in animal protection and Texas history. Annie Lee Roberts championed causes all her life that helped with the alleviation of fear, pain and suffering among animals and was recognized throughout the nation for her dedication and support of a variety of animal protection needs including shelters, wildlife sanctuaries and emergency care.
“We are very excited to be partnering with so many fantastic organizations that really care about animals in need, including crocodiles. Most funders prefer cute and cuddly, like bears or felines, giving priority to “sexy” over “scaly” reptiles,” stated Cherie Chenot-Rose, Director and Biologist for ACES. “As a result of this effort, ACES is currently under review to be accredited by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries, the first in Belize to do so.”
ACES would like to thank all of those who played a major role in accomplishing this: Rasheda Garcia and Jazmin Ramos, Wildlife Officers of the Belize Forest Department, Melanie A. Lambert, Program Director, Animals, of The SummerLee Foundation; Robin Mason, Accreditation Manager, Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries; Sherry Chaney, Administrative Mgr., Animal Care Ctrs. and Veterinary Services of the Humane Society of the United States; Penny Fioravante, Chief Executive Officer of the Belize Economic & Ecological Development Fund; the entire Belize Wildlife Conservation Network; Tony Garel of The Belize Vivarium; and especially, Dr. Med. Vet. I. Paquet-Durand, Wildlife Veterinarian and Professor of the Cayo District of Belize. For more information please visit www.americancrocodilesanctuary.org
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