Over the last few days, we got to visit the Belize Raptor Center and learn about what it means to take care of and rehabilitate a bird of prey to be released back into the wild. Unfortunately, a lot of these birds are shot or injured by ranchers who fear they pose a threat to their poultry livestock or by people who believe in superstition. The center is also responsible for fantastic outreach programs that involve teaching school-aged children about the beauty and importance of these birds in nature, who will hopefully convince their parents that they play a vital role in maintaining the snake populations and other balances in their ecosystem. Additionally, this morning we practiced what is known as bird banding, which involves mist nets designed to immobilize smaller birds and a little band is placed on their leg to track migration patterns, species populations, sizes, and so much more! It was also enjoyable when we got a few recaptures and saw that they were doing well and maintaining good health! In the afternoon, we learned about the bone anatomy of Belize’s top predator, the jaguar! We got to piece the bones together to get a glimpse of how to identify the species and how to compare it to us and how each of the bones fit together to provide mobility for the animal. Looking at the bones, it was really difficult at first as certain arm and leg bones look similar at a first glance, but seeing the sockets and certain indentations in the tibia provided for a better clarification! Tomorrow, I will be working on an enrichment activity for one of the zoo’s exhibits as means to give the animals an activity to prevent stress and boredom. You’ll have to see what’s in store soon!
>C.E.L.A. Belize Large Animal Veterinary Practices>Birds and Bones!!