Animal Policy Examiner is in Belize to report on an expedition with Dr. Sylvia Earle, as well as on local wildlife, and on ecological issues affecting animals in Belize and beyond.

World-renowned marine scientist Dr. Sylvia Earle will lead a Caribbean expedition this week to introduce a new nature preserve on Blackbird Caye in Belize’s Turneffe Atoll, said Randi Reiremo of The Oceanic Society.

Crowned “Her Deepness” by The New Yorker, a “Hero for the Planet” by Time magazine, and a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress for her pioneering work in oceanography, Earle seeks to foster public awareness on the need for marine protected areas, propose potential solutions for preserving oceanic biodiversity, and discuss her new book, The World is Blue.

Turneffe, the largest and most biologically diverse coral atoll in the western hemisphere, supports many endangered and endemic species, according to the Oceanic Society, which has organized the expedition. The atoll (a string of small coral-based islands) not only features healthy coral reefs, but also provides critical nursery areas for reef fishes and offers sanctuary habitat for dolphins, manatees, sea turtles, crocodiles, and seabirds.

The newly dedicated 150-acre reserve is a private, joint initiative by Blackbird Caye EcoResort and The Oceanic Society, a nonprofit marine conservation group. The reserve sets aside for preservation nesting beaches for sea turtles and crocodiles and a caye littoral forest important for migrating birds and nesting Crowned Pigeons, a threatened species.

While snorkeling and diving along healthy reefs, participants will learn about current scientific findings regarding marine resource preservation and how individuals can help protect oceans.

Earle, who serves as president of Deep Search International, Explorer-In-Residence at the National Geographic Society, Advisory Council Chair for the Harte Research Institute, and Scientific will provide detailed observations about Turneffe’s reefs and animals and about marine ecosystems worldwide.

The Oceanic Society operates a Field Station and Research Center on Blackbird Caye for scientists conducting conservation research at Turneffe Atoll. Proceeds from the expedition help fund conservation and research.

Coming up on Animal Policy Examiner…

Reports from Belize

(Photo above - Dr. Sylvia Earle - courtesy Oceanic Society)