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REFUSE THE INTERACTION
Wild animals and birds do not benefit from our interactions with them. Their food-driven motivation greatly increases the chances of wildlife-human conflict that could have been avoided.
Be responsible for them
Be Responsible: Welcome
It can be a thrill to feed the seabirds, to have them swoop down and snatch a fish from between your fingers or to catch it out the air with amazing precision. But birds can't tell the difference between sardines being offered to them, and bait being cast on a hook.
Every year, wildlife rescuers throughout the country are called on to assist seabirds who have been hooked or tangled in fishing gear, most because they associate humans with food. The highest number of calls originate from areas with mass tourism like Ambergris Caye where seabirds such as Pelicans and Frigatebirds are fed daily.
While a rescue call can go as smoothly as capturing the bird and removing the foreign object/s, downed seabirds often have horrific injuries ranging from tears in their pouches or punctured throats, to broken wings from which there is often no recovery. Others may have to spend months in rehabilitation healing from their wounds, potentially missing their migration home and being stuck here until the next migration season.
To learn more about birds in Belize, visit www.belizebirdrescue.com
Be Responsible: Past Events
Crocodiles in Belize are rather shy compared to their Indo-Pacific or African Nile counterparts. In their wild state they tend to keep a respectful distance from people, but crocs who have been fed by people are more likely to seek out humans as a food source, attacking pets or consuming garbage that smells like food.
Outside of captive settings, there is nowhere you can feed crocodiles without causing harm, and any "wildlife refuge" visit or tour in the wild where the animals are fed is nothing but wild crocodiles being fed for the purpose of making money. Don't be fooled, and don't put yourself in danger for an Instagram moment because someone tells you that crocodile is "trained". Crocodiles are extremely fast and agile, and they can launch their body out of the water before your brain can process it and react.
By all means, crocodiles deserve our admiration, but admire from a distance the animals in their wild state.
This crocodile from the "wildlife refuge" on the north road of Ambergris Caye was found dangerously emaciated. Combined with the fact that he had nearly starved to death, he was also suffering a deadly infection in the remaining half of his tail after a territorial dispute with another crocodile. A dispute that only happened because those crocodiles at the "refuge" are living in unnaturally concentrated numbers due to being fed by people for the entertainment of tourists. After the decision to euthanize this protected species was made between us, government officials, and wildlife specialist vets, a necropsy showed 82 plastic bags inside this poor fellas stomach, most of which were chicken bags which had been folded meticulously into little squares. The fading logos on the chicken bags varied from almost completely faded, to no fading at all showing that the bags were not consumed at once, but rather were fed to him over a long period of time for reason only known to the person feeding him the bags. Sadly, this fella was so conditioned to come for food, the compacted bags that smelled like chicken were enough to trigger a feeding response when they were thrown in the water, and as crocs can neither digest nor pass plastic, it killed him very slowly.
This croc starved to death on a full stomach for the better part of a year.
If you would like to learn more about crocodiles, you can reach out to us through our facebook page or contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Be Responsible: Past Events
Fed monkeys who have lost their natural fear of people will come down to the ground instead of staying in the safety of the tree tops. This makes them far more susceptible to dogs, cars, and even poachers who will capture them for the illegal wildlife trade. They can also be in danger if they become a nuisance to homes or farmers who grow tired of the increasingly bold behavior of some individuals and their actions.
Whether you see the animal being fed or not, please know that no monkey will leave the safety of the tree tops just because he's been called by your guide and they have a special relationship, or because he wants you to have a unique Instagram moment.
That animal is being fed.
To ensure the long term survivability of these sensitive species, fed individuals then have to be removed from the wild and placed into a rehabilitation program at enormous cost to the rehabilitation facility. It takes many years for these primates to be fully rehabilitated and released back into the wild as part of a troop, where they can contributing to their species struggling population.
To learn more about primate rehabilitation in Belize, visit www.wildtracksusa.org
Be Responsible: Past Events
Under the Forest Act, CAP 213 of the Substantive Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2017, molesting (including feeding or interacting with) wildlife is a crime punishable with a fine of up to $25,000 and/or 12 months in jail. Interacting with animals in a way that changes their behavior put them, people, or pets at risk.
To report a wildlife crime, you can contact the Belize Forest Department on 8221524 or email email@example.com
Be Responsible: Text
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