Intern – Veronica Escalante

Project Info

Project Description

Veronica is the first recipient of the CRC’s Belize University Scholarship.  Here are some excerpts from her time with the CRC.  The full post can be found at:

“There’s never a dull moment working with the Crocodile Research Coalition (CRC). In between the restless nights of work and the long journeys on dirt roads, there’s plenty of time for sing-alongs to the ‘catchy’ radio tunes as we reach our destinations. CRC adventures also incorporate plenty of sightseeing and hands-on experience. 

While conducting surveys in Sittee River later in the month we came across a 4ft Morelet’s crocodile that had an eye missing and was covered in leeches. We managed to successfully remove the leeches off the back, the underside, and the legs of the croc. Those few that were inside the mouth were not removed. In total, 184 leeches were removed and preserved in alcohol to be sent abroad for identification of species. Based on observation of physical structure, we speculate that it could potentially be more than three leech species. Although our main focus is on crocodiles, we do not ignore other animals. Back in Placencia, we received word of an injured pelican and with the assistance of our vet-intern, Marianne Caron, and myself gave it fluids and provided a warm place for the night. The next day we dropped off the pelican at the Belize Bird Rescue located in Roaring Creek, a center that cares for avians.

On the last week of July, Danni, Rigoberto, the other CRC intern Ronan, and myself packed up the equipment and headed to Corozal District to research crocs in northern Belize. Surveys of the New River were conducted in collaboration with Sarteneja Alliance for Conservation and Development (SACD). We spotted a total of 21 
Morelet’s crocodiles during our nocturnal eyeshine survey, and had a successful capture. The population of crocs in the New River could potentially be larger, but our eyeshine survey was called off early as we were chased out of the area by a thunder storm. After three days of hard work, the team took time off to explore the cenote located a few meters away from Wildtracks, went for a swim in the turquoise sea, tanned for a while, and explored the hiking trails at Shipstern Conservation and Management Area. 

My internship with the CRC has now come to an end but I will forever remain thankful for the amazing opportunity to work with wonderful people and for helping me to conquer my fear of poorly misunderstood creatures, crocodiles rock!”

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