Press Release – Belize Wildlife Conservation Network – 18 January 2011 – The nature and wildlife of Belize are some of the most treasured and loved resources for Belizeans and people from all over the world, who come to enjoy the natural beauty of the country. Dr. Isabelle Paquet-Durand, a veterinarian who specialises in wildlife medicine, has devoted her life to helping the wildlife of Belize. Up until now, Dr. Isabelle has been doing her best with limited equipment and facilities and has literally had to operate out of the back of a pickup truck.
Despite the challenges, Dr. Isabelle is known by everyone who works with her as a wonderful, cheerful and dedicated veterinarian, devoted to protecting the wildlife of Belize as well as to sharing her knowledge and skills for little or no recompense. Her ambitious goal is to establish a world class wildlife hospital in Belize to care for and treat the many animals that become sick, orphaned or injured, but which could be safely returned to the wild if they received the help they needed. So, when she entered a competition run by Heska, a USA based product and service provider to the veterinary profession, called ‘Inspiration in Action’ to try and win funding for equipment to assist her in achieving her goal, she never dreamed that she might just win – especially as she was up against over 300 other excellent entrants.
Dr. Isabelle is very busy with her work, teaching students and helping to save wildlife, so little did she know that an army of supporters were urging people to vote for her entry. People from all over Belize and abroad, who love our little country and wanted to help our wild animals, voted. As a result, on the 19th of December, when the winners were announced, Dr. Isabelle came out victorious, not just a victory for her, but a victory for the country of Belize, to be recognised for the vital conservation work done here and the importance of our ecosystem to the health of the planet.
This $25,000usd award will help to start equipping what will eventually become the Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic (BWRC). Not only will it provide veterinary services to the wildlife of Belize, supporting the work of the Belize Forest Department, wildlife conservation, rescue and rehabilitation groups across the country but the facilities will also be available to veterinary practices nationally, allowing them access to equipment that domestic animals, both pets and farm animals will benefit greatly from. This means that all animals in Belize will benefit, and as a result, so will people as healthier animals contribute to a healthier environment for everyone.
On the 17th of January, Dr. Isabelle attended the Heska Award Ceremony in Florida, attracting international attention to this great step forward for Belize in terms of wildlife care and research.