Tuesday, July 2, 2013

OSCAR Supported NCC Students, Jennifer Souther and Karin Swazya's Belize Story

                               NCC Students Latest Adventures in Belize

NCC students Jennifer Souther and Karin Swazya have been pretty busy the last few days. They presented on howler monkey's natural history and best practices, including reporting illegal logging. The national news and radio stations were there, so they're famous! After seeing illegal loggers cycling down the road with chainsaws (which are currently illegal in Belize) and loading trucks up with lumber, they have been trying to think of how they can help howler habitat. They've definitely seen logging sites while trying to find the monkeys every day.

They wrote an opinion piece urging the public to hold the government accountable for enforcing policies and to preserve nature for future generations - how can Belize call itself "Mother Nature's Best Kept Secret" if it's not protecting what it has?

They're also sending all pictures they take to the forestry department. Since the arrival, they've scared some of the loggers off - their rental car that says "Belize City" and this has made the loggers worried about their presence in the area. The chainsaws have quieted down quite a bit.

As far as monkey research goes, the troops have been pretty quiet. The fact that it is rainy season definitely alters their vocalization patterns, plus the logging that has taken place probably has an effect on their behavior. They've found 8 troops so far, anywhere from 250m to 1km from the home base.

They actually saw howler mating take place in one of the troops they track. That made the trek through a river with no bridge or logs worthwhile!

Stay tuned for further updates.