The Crocodile Research Coalition (CRC) is a Belize-based nonprofit, established in January 2016, 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.
Grecia Méndez grew up surrounded by the Savanna Lowlands of Belize, located in Orange Walk Town. Growing up she always had an inclination for Science, Biology was what interested her the most, she loved to read nature books and was part of the ecology club. At the age of 17 she left the country and enrolled in the university, Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, to study Biology. She spent 7 years in Guatemala in which she finished her studies and conducted a three year research on the population genetics of manatees in Guatemalan shores. She learned a lot from the experience and witnessed first hand the ecological and social dangers that the Central American wetlands are on, mainly due to pollution and coastal development. This made her realize that research opportunities and conservation efforts should be equal throughout the region, also that there should be more communication among these countries so as to maximize the protection of these very important habitats. She loves to work with people from different disciplines because she believes that exchanging different views is what really brings growth and a higher understanding of the world around us.
In Belize, Grecia started working for the BRASS project, the Belize River Archeological Settlement Survey. She worked in the biodiversity survey of El Pilar Archeological Site, with the objective of conserving the forest from excavation projects while maintaining an enigmatic and pristine atmosphere. While working at El Pilar, she decided to embark on a new journey and follow her other passion, film production. She has always wanted to see more cultural and diverse movies being made and believes that science and art give a society its identity and an appreciation of what is around them. Now in Belize living in the beautiful Placencia Village hopes to work in the conservation of the southern ecosystems, which are infinitely valuable to Belize and are interconnected in a beautiful and complex network. She is very excited to be working for the CRC, because she believes that the coalition has what it takes to cause a good impact and accelerate change in Belize. Her motto is to let nature into your life.
Miriam Boucher is a Canadian native who earned her Bachelor’s degree in environmental biology at Wingate University, North Carolina. In 2014 she became involved with crocodylian conservation efforts in Belize, assisting with ongoing population monitoring, parasitology research, and community engagement projects. Miriam recnetly completed a Master’s degree in wildlife management from West Virginia University, for which she investigated the behavior and acoustics of Crocodylus acutus in Belize.
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