On 12/12/12 (at 12 noon, of course) The Belize Zoo celebrated its 30th anniversary in grand style. The festivities started with a delicious lunch followed by a brief history of the zoo presented by Founding Director Sharon Matola, a delightful performance of Lucky Boy’s song by the La Democracia Pre-School Gibnuts (featuring lead guitarist Sharon “Keef” Matola), and some thrilling singing, dancing, and drumming by a talented group of Garifuna performers.  

After this rousing start, U.S. Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally and area representative, Dolores Balderamos, cut the ribbon to the newly-rejuvenated Gerald Durrell Visitor’s Centre. The Durrell Center now includes “Uppie’s Classroom”, which will be the site of fun-filled educational activities for many of the schoolchildren who visit the zoo. 

The Zoo also used this historic occasion to highlight a progressive education effort, the promotion of a book entitled, PAT THE GREAT CAT.  Written by students from Belize and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the book features a jaguar named Pat who is a graduate of the zoo’s Problem Jaguar Rehabilitation Program.  Once a cattle killer, Pat now lives happily in the Milwaukee Zoo with his mate, Stella.   On the 13th of November, Pat and Stella became the proud parents of two jaguar cubs.

The crowd moved outside to watch as Jerome Flores and his 91-year-old friend who represented the Belize Council for the Aging, cut the ribbon to the stunning new SHED (Stroller-Handicap- Elderly, Disabled) friendly pathways. Several wheelchair users participated in the celebration and it was great to see the huge smiles on their faces as they happily cruised around the zoo throughout the afternoon.
Finally the guests excitedly headed to see the one and only Lucky Boy.  This special day was the first time Lucky Boy could be seen by the many fans that had followed the story of his rescue from death’s door, and the now handsome and robust Lucky Boy did not disappoint the crowd in the least.   After Hon. Minister Lisel Alamilla and Wildlife Officer Jazmin Ramos cut the ribbon leading to Lucky Boy’s exhibit, he happily trundled over to greet the crowd!

All in all it was amazing day that perfectly illustrated how the “Best Little Zoo in the World” just keeps getting better!

1 comment:

Wilma said...

Wow - so many new things, new animals to see, new displays! I can't wait to get back to the best little zoo in the world. Here's to another 30 years of helping animals, including humans. cheers, Wilma