Howlers, Toucans and Kinkajous, Oh My!
Originally posted on Tropical Ecology Institute:
Arriving at the Raleigh-Durham airport at 5am, we did not know the spectacular day that awaited us. Two short flights later we arrived in Belize, and after meeting our Belizean teachers Yolanda and Consuelo, and our guide Nathan Forbes and bus driver Bruce, we hit the ground running.
First stop was the Community Baboon Sanctuary. This one-of-a-kind area was created by landowners voluntarily leaving forested areas for habitat and specific food plants for the Black Howler Monkeys. We were treated to an excellent lunch before heading down the trail. Our Guide, Ger, was amazing. There did not appear to be a plant that she could not name and identify its medicinal qualities. From sensitive Mimosas to Split-leaf Philodrendron to Cohune Palms to tattoo ferns, our minds were racing to absorb all the information. We enjoyed watching the leaf cutter ants carrying their leaf bits back to their nest, and learning more about how that community cooperates. We spent a long time watching a small troop of Howler Monkeys. They were eating mango and working their way through the tree. We got to hear the dominant male call, and watched one monkey devour his entire fruit while hanging from his tail