The Crocodile Research Coalition (CRC) is a Belize-based nonprofit that seeks to preserve crocodiles and their environments throughout Central America and the Caribbean to ensure the long-term sustainability of biodiversity in the region. We believe the success of our conservation efforts parallels the involvement and support from local communities, thus we are continuously working alongside with local communities and partner organizations to empower people with the knowledge of co-existence and sustainable practices to ensure the survival of crocodiles and well-being of the communities that live besides them. Our outreach also incorporates working with the local and national governments, utilizing our research to better inform policy decisions regarding wildlife and their habitat (= translational ecology).
Although crocodiles are our flagship species in pursuing regional conservation efforts, the CRC recognizes that the conservation success of crocodiles is not only dependent on direct conservation efforts of the focal species, but also understanding how crocodiles interact with its environment and other wildlife as thriving and long-lasting conservation management is dependent on preserving the integrity of ecological interactions. Thus, through our research center in southern Belize, we facilitate research projects investigating crocodiles, as well as the surrounding flora and fauna.
The CRC is currently accruing further funding to build a state-of-the-art research facility on the Placencia Peninsula, however we do have the space and lodging to accommodate interested researchers and small academic groups nationally and internationally who wish to pursue wildlife and conservation research.
To promote conservation of crocodiles and their habitats throughout Central America through community involvement, research, and education.
“If a woman loves a crocodile, she takes on its character.” — Ancient Egyptian Proverb
At an age when most girls were playing with dolls, Dr. Marisa Tellez was developing knowledge of the world’s top predators as she knew at a young age she wanted to be an advocate and leader in the conservation of the world’s apex predators, particularly crocodiles. Books, television, and local wildlife facilities were the only outlets for her to “experience” crocodiles given she was growing up in the suburbs of Los Angeles, California. After receiving a BA in Cultural Anthropology and a BS in Zoology from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2005, Marisa finally got her hands-on experience with crocodilians at the Eco-station in Culver City, California, and soon after began working at the Los Angeles Zoo. It was working at the zoo that she realized she wanted to head back to school and truly pursue scientific research with crocodilians, particularly investigating their interaction with parasites.
Marisa received a Master’s (2010) and PhD (2014) from the University of California, Los Angeles studying the interaction between parasites and crocodilians, publishing a book and various scientific publications. Her work, knowledge and passion for crocodile conservation was quickly acknowledged by the International Union for Conservation of Nature/Species Survival Commission-Crocodile Specialist Group (CSG), and was soon initiated into the CSG, as well as appointed as the Vice Regional Chair of Latin America for the CSG for her field work in Guatemala, Mexico and Belize which began in 2008.
After receiving a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship through the United States government to research the health and biodiversity of crocodilian habitat in Belize, Marisa soon called Belize home. Observing the difference her research and outreach was making in the local communities, Marisa and her husband created the Crocodile Research Coalition (CRC) to further promote crocodile research and community involvement to assist in the conservation of crocodilians and their habitat.
Karl Kohlman grew up hunting and fishing on the gulf coast in Southeast Texas. He went on to the University of Texas at Dallas to receive a BA in Arts and Technology, leading him to a career in visual effects for film in Los Angeles. He spent 6 years working on summer blockbusters like Oblivion, TRON, Enders Game, Transformers 2, and many more. He spent a great deal of time outdoors surfing and hiking, trying to find balance with the long hours spent inside working, but was unable to do so. He moved to Seattle in hopes of finding a better equilibrium, working in video games on Halo 5, surrounded by a much more lush environment.
After only a year, his wife Marisa proposed that they move to Belize for at least a year for her work. In no time at all, they sold off their stuff, packed up what was left and moved to the Jewel of the Caribbean.
Over the next 6 months, working as a research assistant for his wife, Karl fell in love with the plethora of wildlife surrounding him and the crocodilians that they were researching. Seeing the positive difference he and his wife were already making among the local communities through their outreach and research, he and his wife Marisa decided to start the Crocodile Research Coalition, in hopes of learning more about the crocodiles and their environment, while educating locals and tourists alike about these incredible creatures and their importance to the surrounding environment.
My name is Lilly Alamina. I’m a 17 year old resident of Caye caulker. I graduated from Ocean Academy and I am now attending Saint Johns College Junior College getting my associates degree in Business Management. My hobbies include water sports(swimming, diving etc) and drawing. Living so close to the water has made me very passionate about the marine life and its protection. I’ve been involved with several outreach programs from a very young age. However since i started ocean academy I’ve had so many more opportunities one of which I am still involved in which is the Next Gen Croc. We started off with basic population surveys and I’m now apart of the Next Gen Croc Program and an Intern of the CRC.
Robert Carlos Tzib is from San Jose Succotz located in the Cayo District, Belize. His passion for conservation started at the age of 17 when he volunteered to protect Scarlet Macaws with Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD). Because of his interest for conservation, he was given the opportunity to start the Environmental Youth Group in his area, and was assigned as president for a year. The Environmental Youth Group conducted several projects in the village of San Jose Succotz, in which Roberto led a town clean-up campaign 3 times a month, building of recycling garbage bins, as well as organizing several communities for river clean-up campaigns.
Robert’s dedication for conservation grew and developed during his 5-year employment with FCD, in which during this time he also began learning about the Morelet’s crocodile population of Chiquibul Forest. He began interacting with international crocodile specialists as he became fascinated about crocodiles – the more he learned about crocodiles, the more excited he got about these animals, and the more he wanted to learn and assist in their conservation. Crocodiles have been one of Roberto’s favorite predators due their ability to survive mass extinctions over millions of years, in addition to being intrigued with their current struggles with human beings in relation to co-existence.
As the CRC’s Research Coordinator, Roberto will be bringing skills of mapping, navigation, out door first aid, and survival skills to name a few. Roberto has a great passion for the organization and its mission, and is eager to spread the word of conservation of crocodiles, their habitat, and wildlife the surrounding wildlife.
Roberto is furthering the conservation and awareness efforts of the CRC in creating new educational and outreach ideas and programs as he knows education and community participation is necessary to stop extinction and the lost of Belize’s wildlife and forests. He is eager to assist the CRC grow and establish as one of the leading organizations for crocodiles and their habitat regionally, as well as continue to work with communities to ensure Belize’s wildlife and forests remain for future generations.
For inquiries about internships, research opportunities, or educational outreach, please contact:
For other inquiries you may contact:
All donations are tax deductible and go through our US based
partner nonprofit Collective ConSERVation