Discover Aces Wildlife Rescue in Belize
Belize is a stunning country filled with a collection of diverse ecosystems. Each ecosystem is home to its own unique family of plants and wildlife, such as crocodiles, monkeys, turtles, pumas, sharks, armadillos, and more. Aces Wildlife Rescue in Belize is based out of San Pedro and is dedicated to helping crocodiles and all other types of reptiles, mammals, and birds on the island.
Here at Mahogany Bay Resort, we want to highlight the exemplary work that Aces Wildlife Rescue does and showcase the importance of supporting their mission.
All About Aces Wildlife Rescue in Belize
Aces Wildlife Rescue is a San Pedro-based non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation and protection of Belize's native wildlife and their critical habitats. They are the only wildlife rehabilitation facility serving Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker. ACES provides 24/7 emergency response to wildlife in-need while running a year-round wildlife rehabilitation program for injured, ill, or orphaned wildlife found on the islands. They also provide human-crocodile conflict resolution free-of-charge to the community to achieve harmonious coexistence with wildlife by reaching out to residents of all ages. This helps to educate the public about the importance of predator species for a healthy, balanced ecosystem, and works to preserve the wild habitats of the Cayes that both people and wildlife rely on.
In addition, Aces has begun a mangrove reforestation program in select areas across Ambergris Caye, where so far, they have planted over 2000 mangrove seeds in the waters on the lagoon side of the island and have a further 500 planted in a controlled nursery on Aces property where they will grow strong before being transplanted into the ecosystem.
Over the past two years, Aces has evolved in response to the needs of the Cayes. What originally started as a crocodile research and conservation organization has grown into a general wildlife rescue, specializing in birds and reptiles. While this change was planned, the lockdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic and movement restrictions made this transition happen sooner than expected. Ambergris Caye was the first place in Belize to go into lockdown, which meant that with no boats or planes operating, animals that would usually be sent to facilities on the mainland for care could no longer be transported anywhere. So, on a shoestring budget during repeated lockdowns and through tough economic times with very little income, Chris Summers and Christina Manzi (managing directors of Aces Wildlife Rescue) transformed the organization in just two years.
With training from wildlife partners both in-country and abroad, Aces has managed to gain extensive knowledge necessary to stabilize and rehabilitate a wide array of species and has constructed a facility capable of housing those species for varied lengths of time. Although the facility is far more built-up now than it was at the start of the pandemic, there is still a lot more to be done to maximize the organization’s capabilities.
As the island population grows and more people become aware of services Aces provides, the more calls they receive requesting assistance. In 2021, Aces received over 300 calls to their hotline from just Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker. This resulted in 168 wild animals in-need entering into their facility (a 25% increase from 2020’s wildlife intakes, and a 137% increase from 2019). They’ve gone from just a few years prior working solely with American and Morelet’s crocodiles on the Cayes and mainland Belize, to assisting over 68 species and counting, including seabirds, songbirds, wading birds, raptors, turtles, snakes, iguanas, raccoons, tamanduas, coatis, and bats, all in addition to still assisting the community to find a balance with the native crocodiles in shared habitats.
How You Can Help
Do you want to help support the mission of Aces Wildlife Rescue? That's amazing! Aces Wildlife Rescue is 100% donor-funded and receives no government funding. Organizations like theirs thrive on donations from generous individuals and organizations. In fact, in 2022 Mahogany Bay Resort was proud to make a donation of $5000 BZD worth of priority items directly off their Amazon wish list.
You can donate to their organization by visiting AcesWildlifeRescue.org. Donations made through their website are US-tax deductible through US 501(c) The Belize Economic and Ecological Development Fund.
In-kind donations of bed sheets, towels, pillowcases, and things of that nature are always appreciated. They are used on rescues and in their clinic continuously so they can never have enough. You can also check out Aces Wildlife Rescue’s Amazon Wishlist for specialized items they need.
Schedule an Educational Visit
Aces houses a few un-releasable animals that cannot be returned to the wild for one reason or another. These animals are now educators and ambassadors for their species. Give them a call to arrange a visit and learn more about some of the animals we share our island with.
For more information on Aces Wildlife Rescue and to view their current projects, visit their website and social media pages.