Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary: Its History, Flora and Fauna for Visitors, Teachers and Scientists

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9780963798220: Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary: Its History, Flora and Fauna for Visitors, Teachers and Scientists

Often described as a magical place, the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary in Belize is a wonder of natural beauty and diversity. Documenting the Sanctuary's plants, animals, natural history, trails and much more, this book serves as a guide for the traveler and a reference book for the student or teacher. Articles and illustrations from 23 Belizean and foreign scientists, artists and photographers are compiled with a complete index to provide an in-depth and easy to use handbook. Containing checklists of animals, many suggestions for activities and lots of practical advice, this book is invaluable to those visiting the Sanctuary or indeed anyone interested in environmental education.

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From the Preface: Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary: Its History, Flora and Fauna for Visitors, Teachers and Scientists is the joint, volunteer effort of many people, authors, photographers, artists, and others. Those of us whom have spent time in this wonderful place have become enchanted by it and we would like to share the magic with others, Belizean visitors, the visitors who come from other countries to explore Belize, teachers who bring groups of students and scientists who long to uncover the secrets of the forest...The contributors to this book include local Mayans who comprise the Sanctuary staff, other Belize Audubon Society staff and volunteers, Belizean scientists working in the Cockscomb Basin, and scientists from abroad who have worked in the Cockscomb...The book is divided into three parts. Part I includes the history anddescriptions of the flora and fauna of the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary (CBWS)...Part II is a guide for teachers bringing students to the CBWS, providing practical advice on how to make your visit enjoyable and educational at the same time, along with many ideas for activities...Part III includes practical information for the visitor...The many hours devoted by all the contributors on a volunteer basis is a tribute to their love of the Cockscomb Basin and desire to help with its development. We hope you enjoy reading this book and especially visiting the CBWS.--Judy Lumb, Editor

From the Forward: It is with great pleasure that I introduce this excellent book on the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary. Despite the passing of more than a decade since I first set foot in the Cockscomb Basin, my memories of that day are as vivid as if it had happened yesterday.

While surveying jaguars in Belize during the last months of 1982, I made my way by motorcycle to the village of Maya Center. I was told that if I wanted to find jaguars, I should follow the narrow dirt road that led west from the village into the dense forest of the Maya Mountains. A timber operation was in full swing as I drove along the deeply rutted skidder tracks that penetrated far into the Cockscomb Basin. What I saw in those first few miles impressed me deeply. Despite all the activity in the area, jaguar tracks were everywhere.

I drove my little Honda further and further into the Basin until I crested a rise at the top of a long, steep hill. Just as I came over the top, a jaguar stepped out from the forest into my path. He turned his head and looked at me as if I were just another in a long line of inexplicable intrusions and then continued on his way, disappearing into the forest on the opposite side. I got off the bike and stood in front of the dense wall of green where the jaguar had entered the forest. It was in that moment that the seed was planted, a seed that would take root and become the focus of my life over the next few years.

In the years that have followed since I left Belize, I have worked and traveled in many parts of the world. But I can never remember more than a month going by that I did not reflect back on the people, the animals and the mystique of the Cockscomb Basin.

The fact that the authors of this book, as well as other visitors to the Cockscomb, have become completely enchanted by the Cockscomb is no surprise to me , for I, too, was one of its victims, even as I stood among the jungle-eating machinery of the timber camp. Yet, despite almost instantly realizing the beauty and richness of the Cockscomb when I first set foot there, it is only in retrospect that I can appreciate the uniqueness of the Cockscomb on a global scale.

In today's world of growing human population and increased pressures on the remaining natural habitats and resources, there is an increasingly strident cry that areas such as the Cockscomb should not be closed as national parks or sanctuaries, but should be utilized and managed by the local people for wildlife, small-scale agriculture and forest products. Others, like myself, are of the firm belief that the protection of areas as parks or sanctuaries is the only way to conserve some of the worldUs exceptional beauty and wildlife species for the future. Amidst such controversy, the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary stands as an exceptional example of a protected area and a management scheme that not only works, but benefits and is highly valued by the local people...I would like to congratulate all of the authors and illustrators for their time and effort in putting together this fine piece of work. This book is a valuable addition to the natural history literature of Belize and the Central America region.--Alan Rabinowitz, Wildlife Conservation Society

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