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             Saturday, November 29, 2008 

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Crocodile expert Marisa Tellez
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Crocodile expert Marisa Tellez

Croc Talk on 11th of December
7pm, Sunbreeze Hotel Conference Room

Everyone who lives on San Pedro has a crocodile tale to tell, but very few know quite as much about our neighbours, the American Crocodile, than crocodile expert Marisa Tellez. The fascinating, frightening and ferocious American Crocodile is endangered in most of North, Central and South America, so we, in Belize, are incredibly privileged to have a healthy population to protect and preserve.

Unfortunately, human activities are slowly encroaching upon the natural territory of this prehistoric predator and unless we understand how to live safely alongside the American Crocodile, conflicts and accidents are inevitable. Scientists are carefully studying the American Crocodile as they have the most powerful immune system on the planet and may hold answers to some of our most difficult medical challenges such as AIDS.

Tourists who come to San Pedro are often excited to hear that they can see crocodiles and find themselves attending crocodile feedings, which are both illegal and dangerous and not just dangerous for the bystanders. Crocodiles that have been recently relocated from San Pedro to a specialist crocodile sanctuary run by (ACES) American Crocodile Endangered Sanctuary have been found to have been intentionally abused and injured by humans as well as suffering from serious infections. This suggests that living so closely to humans may not be in the best interests of crocodiles unless we can learn how to protect and respect these magnificent and ancient creatures. Marisa has spent a great deal of time in Belize studying the crocodile population and is coming back to San Pedro for a second time to help raise awareness and provide information about why the American Crocodile is so important to San Pedro and why we need to do everything we can to conserve the species. She will be doing a number of talks at local schools as well as a larger event aimed at those who are interested in the general public and those who deal with tourists on a regular basis. Nothing impresses tourists more than having a wealth of up to date information on the local flora and fauna of San Pedro.

On the 11th of December at 7pm, Marisa Tellez from the UCLA, will be speaking at the conference room at the Sunbreeze Hotel, who have kindly donated the space for this purpose. This talk is free. It is also extremely entertaining. Marisa is an excellent speaker and her enthusiasm for crocodiles is hugely infectious. If you would like more information about this talk or if you would like to arrange to have Marisa visit your school, please contact Colette Kase on 624 8251.

Photograph by Vince Rose, Crocodile Behaviorist Specialist, ACES/ American Crocodile Endangered Sanctuary, Toledo             
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