Pat Gives Back: Belize Conservation
Pat Gives Back
Pat the Great Cat was a well-known jaguar in Belize and was accepted into The Belize Zoo’s Human Jaguar Conflict Program (TBZ). Once he was healthy and comfortable around people, the decision was made to integrate him into a new life at the Milwaukee County Zoo (MCZ) in 2007. Pat went on to sire two litters of cubs and brought much-needed genetic health to the jaguar population in North American zoos. Pat has made a huge impact on jaguar conservation, and it is our turn to give back.
Our Joint Efforts
Together with our partners in the field we strategically focus our efforts on:
- Capacity Building: We coordinate annual workshops at the Belize Zoo, and offer their staff keeper exchange opportunities and scholarships to attend conferences.
- Conservation and Research: Milwaukee County Zoo staff provide direct support to conservation and research efforts of imperiled Belizean wildlife, including jaguar, tapirs, howler monkeys, migratory songbirds and other imperiled wildlife.
- Community Support: We support educational and community opportunities to increase public knowledge and inspire folks to take conservation action.
Our Partners in Belize
Ya’axché Conservation Trust
Pat Gives Back funds a human-wildlife conflict mitigation officer position with the Ya’axché Conservation Trust. This role is responsible for developing strategies to reduce jaguar predation on livestock and find methods for farmers and wildlife to co-exist. This role also includes farmers in important community science ecological data collection to learn more about wildlife occupying their farms. Including community members in these efforts ensures the future of Belizean wildlife for years to come.
The Belize Zoo
The Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center is home to many endemic Belizean wildlife, and is also home to the Human Jaguar Conflict Program which gave us Pat the Great Cat. Each year Milwaukee County Zoo keeper staff work with the Belize Zoo to identify workshop sessions and share out requested information between organizations. We have as much to learn from our partners in Belize as we have to share with them! Past workshops have included trainings on animal behavior, veterinary techniques, and conservation planning and evaluation.
The Belize Tapir Project
Milwaukee County Zoo veterinary staff have supported tapir collaring efforts to learn more about tapir ecology, including data on their range size, movement patterns, and physiology. Through public outreach and education, the Belize Tapir Project aims to reduce tapir mortalities due to vehicle strikes – collecting data on tapirs is a significant component of this work.
Runaway Creek Nature Preserve – Foundation for Wildlife Conservation
This important landscape in Belize offers Milwaukee County Zoo keeper staff opportunities to contribute to field monitoring of a variety of wildlife: tapir collaring, rehabilitated and released howler monkeys, migratory songbirds that travel between our regions, and herpetological surveys. Through these keeper-driven field projects, our staff are motivated, inspired, and become better connected to the animals in our care at the Zoo.
Travel With Us to Belize!
Are you interested in traveling with Pat Gives Back to Belize? Contact Auriana, the Society’s conservation programs coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!