Marty Casado with Spanish's spider monkey, 1998
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The Biodiversity & Environmental Resource Data System (BERDS) is a comprehensive biodiversity and environmental data warehouse and research system built with one purpose - to enhance collaborative research and conservation efforts in Belize by providing shared access to not only accurate biodiversity- and environment-related data but also the tools necessary to begin research and investigation of that shared data. Since its launch in August 2005, BERDS has grown to become the preeminent environmental data resource for Belize.
Marty Casado with Spanish's spider monkey, 1998

South of town at Cariblandia, they slept late over there, so I would go by in the mornings and spend an hour or more quality time with this spider monkey. A very gentle soul.

This monkey was super mellow. The monkey that Spanish had after this monkey had a bad ending... I spent several hours with the bad monkey in its cage, it wouldn't let me out. It was very possessive. It bit my head slightly in a couple places, hissed and flashed those big ugly teeth in my face numerous times. It wrapped its arms and tail around me quite securely. Hugged me up nice and friendly like but.... Damn hard to get a monkey off you when it doesn't want to let go. You get one arm off gently, it still has two legs, one arm and a tail around you. Pretty much impossible to get all those appendages off you at once. Spanish and his friends were outside the cage and for awhile tried to distract it so i could get out. But that didn't work. I was its favorite new toy!!! So eventually I had them (and Becky) leave the area, and i just sat with the bad monkey for a looooong time until it was slightly distracted, it leaned a bit to one side and i took off hard in the other direction, the monkey dropped off me, and i was barely able to scoot out of the cage. Terribly frightening. Last time I ever hold a monkey. Spanish was terrified also. My wife remains traumatized to this day from this. she hates spider monkeys now. That bad monkey was later put down after an incident at Banana Beach. DON"T HOLD A MONKEY! It can go quite badly.

Photograph by Richie Woods

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