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Community Baboon Sanctuary

February 8, 2012

After entering Belize we drove down to Orange Walk where we stopped for a quick lunch and a walk around. We weren’t very impressed so we carried on Southwards. The great thing about Belize is that it is tiny and you can get anywhere in a fairly short drive.

A paved road leads off the main highway to a place called Bermudian Landing. This is the home of the Community Baboon Sanctuary. Over 200 land owners in the surrounding area have joined the association and agreed to keep a 50ft strip of land at the edges of their property as original jungle. This creates corridors of 100ft for wildlife to move around. The main reason for this is the preservation of the Black Howler Monkey which has become endangered.

We arrived at the HQ of the sanctuary – a fairly unimpressive wooden hut with bats on the ceiling – quite late so we checked in with the guy there and paid BZ$10 to camp for the night. This only involved parking outside the building. It was really hot and humid in this part of Belize and just didn’t cool down at all over night.

We decided to do a night hike through the reserve with a guide to see if we could see any nocturnal animals. This was a complete bust but we did see a nocturnal bird. The guide that we had was completely drunk which was quite amusing. On the way to the jungle he stopped off at a bar to say hello to some of his friends and they persuaded him to sing for him. So we hung out here for a few minutes while one of the guys in the bar played guitar and he sang a real bluesy number.

In the morning we had arranged another hike to go and see the Howler monkeys and we were slightly dismayed to see the same guide. However he was completely different and really professional now !

We walked through the jungle for about 15 minutes before we came to a tree with a family of five howler monkeys and our guide,  Brian, held out a piece of banana (a cliché I know) and called them down. They came scampering down the tree – all except the adult male who stayed aloof and occasionally made the challenging roar that Howlers are known for.

We spent about half an hour with the monkeys which was really cool and then went back to the truck before heading off.

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