Several weeks ago, hubby and I decided to take a quick two day strip south to check out several sites that included Bermudian Landing where members of The Community Baboon Sanctuary (CBS) reside.
Members of the CBS have voluntarily agreed to manage their land in ways that preserves their beloved “baboon”. Because of community based efforts, there are currently 3,000 individual baboons living freely in the forests and buffer zones between people’s farms.
The managers of the sanctuary are villagers who understand their neighbors; much of the time is spent with school children and adults in interested villages. Part of their education includes basic farming and sustained land use techniques that eliminates the constant need to cut forest for new cornfields.
The Belize Exotic Adventures’ brochure states that ” The Black Howler Monkey Community is a unique conservation effort bringing together 8 villages to protect the population and habitat of Belize’s Black Howler Monkey. The sanctuary consists of approximately 20 square miles along the Belize River and embodies a combination of dense jungle, pasture, farmland, and small village life.”
The greatest threat to the monkeys, as one might expect, continues to be habitat disturbance due to agriculture, logging and hunting. The Sanctuary was established to help address this threat by showing landowners the benefits of preserving their lands for the monkeys.
According to the CBS website, “In addition to the numerous howler troops, an abundance of other life is found within the sanctuary. Nearly 200 bird species have been identified in the area, including colorful parrots, amazing hummingbirds, limpkin, manakins, even a toucan now and then. Other endangered species such as the hickatee river turtle also make the sanctuary their home. Morelet’s crocodiles are often seen in the area. Snakes such as boa constrictors and vipers can be found here. (Don’t worry; few snakes in the Sanctuary can pose a threat to humans!). In addition fox, anteaters, bats, iguanas, armadillos and many other species of mammals, reptiles and amphibians. Even cats such as jaguars, ocelots, puma, and jagarundi occur in the area of the Sanctuary.”
Prior to our adventure, the area had been deluged with rain. The road conditions of Bermudian Landing and surrounding areas caused us to alter our plans to enjoy the two-hour walking tour of some of the different villages. Instead, we drove the main road and side roads that were passable.
Across the Belize River, I thought I saw something in the trees on the right of the bridge. Up in the tip top of a tree were 6 black monkeys! Wow, what a site to see as they swung from limb to limb eating leaves.
As we were photographing the monkeys, I began to hear a noise that I did not recognize. Maybe a pig grunting? No, more like a growl. I wasn’t sure so we hopped back in the car and followed the sounds back across the river. About 50 feet down the road, we stopped the car and listened. It took a few minutes with both of us listening and watching the trees on both sides of the road. All of a sudden, I could see the Howler Monkey! It took a bit longer for hubby to find his. However, these two guys were talking back and forth across the road… growling, snorting, howling…
I got out the video cam and attempted to record the sites and sounds. I had no idea that the cam limited the amount of time to video. The video itself is shaky. Didn’t do a great job, however, the howlers are clear.
If you are interested in more Howler Monkey information, please visit these sites: