For over thirty years, Burgers' Zoo, together with the Swiss butterfly park Papiliorama, has protected a nature reserve of more than 400 square kilometres in Belize. Burgers' Mangrove is inspired by this successful nature conservation project and acts as an ambassador for the area. Through our years of work in Belize, we have become acquainted with other small-scale, successful species and nature conservation projects locally. We are happy to support them too! Thus, nature conservation in Belize has become one of our main conservation priorities, even besides our “own project”. In this monthly series, we will discuss current developments in Belize. In this edition: the successful bird sanctuary.
Burgers’ Zoo donated 60 000 USD to the Belize Bird Rescue through the Burgers' Zoo Conservation Foundation. Belize has been badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, especially since many tourists were not allowed to visit the country for a long time due to restrictions on international travel. Not only did the donation make up almost their entire annual budget, but the money arrived at a very important time when the need was great.
They used the donation to refurbish some birdhouses and build two new aviaries for vulnerable birds. These are former cage birds that are temporarily unable to fly because their flight feathers have been heavily clipped by their previous owners and young birds moulting into their adult plumage. Belize Bird Rescue took in 91 new birds at their rehabilitation centre in the last three months of 2021. The rehabilitation centre has released more than a thousand birds back into the wild since it was founded in 2004. The donation will also enable them to hand-rear 29 young parrots, including 19 critically endangered yellow-headed Amazon parrots. The aim is to release these birds in March 2022.
The four loyal, local employees who had been made redundant due to the pandemic were also reinstated thanks to the contribution. They are working hard to build new enclosures, clean, refurbish and maintain the facility, perform daily bird care and feeding, and perform rescue activities in large parts of the country. Job security is especially valuable for these dedicated individuals in Belize, which was hit hard by the coronavirus!
The Belize Bird Rescue team travelled a total of 2004 miles last year to rescue birds throughout the country, and people in the rehabilitation centre's network travelled an additional 1480 miles. Petrol is not cheap in Belize, and the financial contribution enables them to continue to respond quickly to emergency calls. At the time of writing, the bird rehabilitation centre is caring for 167 birds, 159 of which are parrots that still have a long rehabilitation process ahead of them before they can be released back into the wild.
As Nikki from Belize Bird Rescue aptly describes it:
“Once again, I cannot tell you what a difference this funding has made to our operations over these critical months. We will always remember 2021 as ‘the year we got lucky’. Thank you so very, very much from the bottom of our hearts.”
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