Originally founded in September 2016 on the island of Caye Caulker in collaboration with FAMRACC and Ocean Academy, Next Gen Croc is a student led crocodile monitoring program to assess the stability of crocodile populations via nocturnal eyeshine surveys, as well as conduct community outreach to further the young student’s role as conservation leaders and wildlife advocates in Belize. Through Next Gen Croc, we anticipate our student’s to build a strong foundation in leadership, communication, and scientific skills, while simultaneously providing the students’ mentorship in the field of science, wildlife research and management. Additionally, through external funding the CRC seeks to provide Next Gen Croc Students with opportunities to network and participate in national, regional and international scientific meetings.
Next Gen Croc Caye Caulker (est. 2016) conducts 3-day nocturnal eyeshine surveys, while also building their knowledge on the basic biology of American Crocodiles around their island, astronomy, and local Maya folklore. At the end of the school year, CRC sits down with students and analyzes data with Next Gen Croc students, and helps students write-up an annual report for the Belize Forest Department (absolutely impressive for 16 and 17 year-old students!). The information gathered during their monthly surveys will be kept in an ongoing database and used to monitor the stability of the population, and assist the CRC and the Belize Forest Department to manage the crocodiles and mitigate human-crocodile conflict, especially as Caye Caulker continues to rapidly develop.
Next Gen Croc Placencia (est. 2017) is in collaboration with Peninsula International Academy, and in partnership with the Green Team at Turtle Inn Resort. These students conduct 2 biodiversity surveys/month, as well as 2 crocodile nocturnal eyeshine surveys/month. Similar to Next Gen Croc Caye Caulker, Placencia students will analyze data at the end of the school year and write up a report for Forest Department offering their knowledge and suggestions to ensure long-term sustainability of local wildlife while ensuring the well-being of the local communities.
Eco-tours of Next Gen Croc will commence January 2018 (the price of the tours will go towards protecting crocodile habitat, as well to help pay for the students’ tuition to help supplement the finances needed to continue their education).