Tuesday, July 16, 2024

On the Wild Side: Island Wildlife Reports


Submitted by ACES Biologist Cherie Chenot-Rose

Something Fishy

On Sunday night, June 24th fisherman Eric (Chino) Trackman got the catch of his life. About 10pm he snared and reeled in a 7ft crocodile on 10 pound test. Unable to remove the hook and worried for the croc’s life, he decided to secure the toothy animal. Now 1am, Trackman decided to contact someone in the morning to remove the hook. Not sure whether to take the croc to SAGA to remove the hook, his wife Jennifer recalled seeing American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES) on local channel 64 and in The San Pedro Sun.  About 9am on Monday I received a text: “We hav a crok in sum1 back yard in d.f.c.” Then both Vince’s and my phone started ringing about the caught croc. We immediately responded by boat and found the crocodile tied with laundry line, but with a free, snappy mouth. Once secured, the croc was taken to American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES) temporary holding area where we removed the hook. The croc’s right forearm appears to be injured so he will be held for about a week to be sure that he heals properly and hasn’t sustained any other injuries. Eric the fisherman named the croc “Crocodilly”.

While it is illegal to handle crocodiles without a permit, Eric probably saved the croc from infection from the hook. We remind everyone that if fishing in a populated area, like a canal, please do not toss fish scraps or any other food items in the waters that will attract unwanted apex predators such as crocs and sharks. Everyone’s safety depends on it.

Hawk Fledgling Rescue

Mitch Marqui has been observing two large birds of prey for some time now, enjoying watching them capture mice and other prey from his freshly mowed property. This week he discovered a juvenile that was severely injured with a broken wing. Mitch took the bird in, built it a temporary home, and gave it fresh water. Monday, June 25th, he trekked the bird from his home, up near Rojo Lounge to the home of ACES in Boca Del Rio. There we fed it some fresh meat and immediately notified the Belize Forest Department. On Tuesday the 26th the bird was transported to the International Airport via Tropic Air where Nikki Buxton from Belize Bird Rescue transported the injured animal to the Belize Wildlife Clinic to be examined by Dr. Isabelle Paquet-Durand. Although it has not been confirmed, the general consensus is that the bird is a Common Black Hawk. The bird will be treated and then most likely recover at the Belize Bird Rescue in Belmopan.

Brigitte Bardot Saves Belize’s Crocs

Saving the lives of threatened American crocodiles, the Brigitte Bardot Foundation (BBF) generously donated $8,500Euros to the American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES) on June 14, 2012. The funding is for a new, natural, containment habitat that will accommodate up to four large problematic crocodiles at ACES main facility in Ladyville. The BBF is “happy to help with the funding needed for the building of enclosures for rescued crocodiles, and supports ACES endeavors to save and to take care of crocodiles in Belize.”

In 1986, French fashion model, actress, singer and animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot sold her home and jewelry and founded the Brigitte Bardot Foundation for the welfare and protection of domestic and wild animals. Fighting and defending the rights of animals, the foundation acts to heighten awareness, inform, relieve, and save animals around the world. Today, BBF is the leading animal protection non-governmental organization in France.

Crocodiles are apex predators that have been around for millions of years. American crocodiles are typically a timid species but become problematic when they are illegally fed by humans. As rare as Polar bears, American crocodile numbers are declining in their last stronghold, here in Belize.

Personally, this donation is a stupendous honor for me.  Even as a child I was an enormous fan of Mrs. Bardot, so much so that I named my first pet miniature poodle, Brigitte. To receive funding from such a prestigious foundation substantiates our tremendous efforts and sacrifices in saving crocodiles in Belize.


Do you have an island wildlife story to share?

Email Cherie at [email protected]

Read more


Please help support Local Journalism in Belize

For the first time in the history of the island's community newspaper, The San Pedro Sun is appealing to their thousands of readers to help support the paper during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since 1991 we have tirelessly provided vital local and national news. Now, more than ever, our community depends on us for trustworthy reporting, but our hard work comes with a cost. We need your support to keep delivering the news you rely on each and every day. Every reader contribution, however big or small, is so valuable. Please support us by making a contribution.

Local News