Wildlife in Belize
One of the predominate attractions and themes of Belizean travel is eco-tourism. Perhaps it is because the country is relatively small and very loosely populated. The entire country is about the size of Massachusetts and has a population of roughly a quarter of a million people. By comparison, El Salvador, which is even smaller, boasts a population of over 6 million people! Smaller human population means a more expansive wildlife selection, and that’s certainly true in Belize. The country has more than 4,000 species of flowering plants, jaguars, crocodiles, monkeys, tapir, iguana, jaguarondi, hundreds of species of birds and so much more!
The Community Baboon Sanctuary
The Community Baboon Sanctuary began with a voluntary land management agreement back in 1985. Since then, the sanctuary has expanded to cover over 12,900 acres! While it was originally established to protect the local population of Black Howler monkeys, today you can also find 59 species of birds, tapir, crocodiles, iguana and jaguarondi that seek sanctuary there. The wildlife reserve offers numerous opportunities to interact with the natural world in a natural environment of broadleaf forest, secondary forest, marsh and pasture, as well as farmland.
The Crooked Tree Lagoons and Wildlife Sanctuary
If you’re traveling along the Northern Highway near mile marker 33, you’ll want to take time out to visit the Crooked Tree Lagoons and Wildlife Sanctuary. During your visit, you’ll have the opportunity to explore several different pristine environments, including lagoons, creeks, savannas, and logwood thickets. These diverse habitats house many different species of birds. Avid bird-watchers can hope to see double crested cormorants, egrets, heron, ducks, the Jabiru stork (the largest bird in the Americas) as well as Peregrine falcons, snail kites and the kingfisher. But, there are more than birds to be found at Crooked Tree. You can see crocodiles, turtles and iguana sun on shores while other birds, reptiles and mammals scamper through the cashew trees. It’s a truly unforgettable experience!
The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary and Jaguar Preserve
A great deal of Belize’s tourists set out in hopes of a glimpse of the elusive jaguar. And while it’s still an incredibly rare event even here, your best chance at spotting one comes with a visit to the world’s only jaguar preserve. Established in 1984, today the preserve covers approximately 150 square miles. It houses authentic Maya culture, jaguars and over 300 different species of birds. The jungle canopy climbs to heights that reach over 120 feet. While it may be hard to spy a jaguar, you won’t have much trouble finding monkeys, snakes and agouti. And when you’ve finished there, there are still two more great preserves to check out:
- The Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, which is located outside of Belmopan, and
- The Spanish Creek Wildlife Sanctuary, near the Rancho Dolores village in the Belize District.
Don’t Miss Out
Even if you only have the chance to visit one of these wonderful wildlife sanctuaries, don’t miss out on the exciting opportunity to explore the natural world as only Belize can offer!