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#560961 12/14/22 05:48 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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The Belize Zoo is opening back up this Saturday. The best little zoo in the world had a lot of help to get back in shape, and Saturday's the day.


GREAT NEWS! The Belize Zoo is back!

Join us on Saturday, December 17th as we reopen "the best little zoo in the world!" We thank you all for your patience and support during our closure.

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Joined: Oct 1999
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Marty Offline OP
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The Belize Zoo Gets Ready to Reopen After Hurricane Lisa

Tonight, for our weekly Belize On Reel feature, we'll show you the massive cleanup effort that has been undertaken at the Belize Zoo, following the devastation caused by Hurricane Lisa over six weeks ago.� In the month of November, the zoo lost almost two hundred thousand dollars in revenue, as the facility had to be closed down in order to carry out a cleanup campaign and restoration.� Six weeks later, the Belize Zoo is returning, bigger and better.� News Five's Isani Cayetano visited the Belize Zoo and has the following story.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Like other parts of central Belize, when Hurricane Lisa made landfall on November second, it also wreaked havoc at the Belize Zoo.� The category one storm damaged enclosures, trails, and other structures at the wildlife refuge.

Celso Poot, Director, The Belize Zoo

"We had no income for the month of November and that was about a hundred and ninety thousand dollars in costs to the zoo.� We had to hire additional people, we had to buy material.� For example, you saw the jaguar habitat, we had to build one of the jaguar habitats from scratch.� That cost us about sixty-five thousand dollars just that one habitat.� Overall it's going to cost the zoo about four hundred thousand dollars.� That would be our estimated figure for the cost from Hurricane Lisa."

A damage assessment conducted immediately after the natural disaster, would verify that roughly seventy-five percent of the plants found at the zoo were also affected.

Jamal Andrewin Bohn, Conservation Program Manager, Belize Zoo [File: November 8 th , 2022]

"Every manager and staff is still reporting to work, even though we're closed to the public.� It's just that rather than having the tourism aspect, the education aspect, everybody's doing manual labor now, so trading in the cash till, for example, for a machete and a claw to clean.� So that will be the case for a few weeks, until it is back in a place where we can welcome the public."

Six weeks later, Sylvia is pacing gingerly inside her enclosure.

Roxanna Lemos, Lead Zookeeper, Belize Zoo

"It took us a couple of weeks to be able to restore her habitat over.� So she was in a holding area for a couple of weeks.� For us to get her out, it took us like three weeks or so and the keepers worked, like even on their days off to see her back into her habitat.� So we had to come in extra days, [and] everyone was trying to get her out as quickly as possible from there.� So we had to put up a portion of the fence, make sure all the electric wires were working."

Neo is also busy climbing.� When he is not putting on a show for our camera, he is scarfing down a whole fish.� Elsewhere at the facility, the harpy eagles are perched on huge branches overlooking the massive cleanup campaign that is taking place below.� The Belize Zoo is gearing up to open its doors to the public once again.

Celso Poot

"It's been a monumental task.� It's nothing we have faced before.� Lisa, as we would say in Creole, did a number to zoo.� We had some trees, hardwood trees like mahogany, soft tree like the ceiba, cedar, all those trees were planted in 1990 when we moved to this site and a lot of those trees were toppled over by Lisa.� The few that remain standing, their branches were just ripped off and broken, and the unique thing about the Belize Zoo is its natural habitat, the natural vegetation we have.� It provides shade, it provides comfort for the animals and it's also protection for the guests coming to the zoo, from the sun."

But when those trees fell, debris littered many, if not all, of the pathways that lead to various exhibits.� It's nothing short of a Herculean effort, clearing and trucking away fallen branches and foliage.

Roxanna Lemos

"It's been a lot of work, trying to get everything back to not how it was because now we have a lot of trees that have fallen that were giving a lot of shade to the animals that were here.� But the restoration of most of the habitats is almost completed, it has taken us longer than we had anticipated, so it took us over five weeks to where we are right now.� And even though Saturday, we will have the zoo reopen again for visitors and for the public to come in and see, it's still not to a hundred percent."

Indeed, getting the zoo back to where it was before the hurricane has been no easy task.� They're not fully there yet, but what visitors can expect to see when they are allowed to return to the facility, are all their favorite birds and cats.

Celso Poot

"We're reopening on Saturday and it will be a phased reopening.� Some of the habitats will not be available and it's mostly because of safety for guests.� We haven't been able to reach all the habitats to make sure that they are one hundred percent safe to guests, so what we are doing is, we're going to cordon off some of the habitats.� But all the charismatic species that people are used to, the jaguars, the tapir, the harpy eagle, the scarlet macaw, the parrots, all five cats will be available to the public and I invite Belizean supporters to come and see what it's been like for us here at the Belize Zoo.� Come and see the amount of work that is left for us to do."

Channel 5

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,398
Marty Offline OP
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Here's their new 2023 rates:

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