As both an avid reptile lover, zoo veteran, and anti-wooist, this story makes me so angrysad I want to punch people with my tears:
In the early morning hours of September 5th, a frenzied mob of Mayan-Belizean villagers set fire to the American Crocodile sanctuary that a Colorado,USA couple spent the last six years creating. “We’ve lost everything,” said Cherie Chenot-Rose, co-owner and founder of the American Crocodile Sanctuary for Education (ACES). The sanctuary was located in Punta Gorda, Belize.
The mob was apparently riled in to a frenzy by a Mayan “psychic” who claimed that two children, who have been missing for the last week, had been fed to the crocodiles at the sanctuary. It is alleged that the same group of villagers are responsible for burning other homes in the past several months in the Toledo District, the southern most portion of Belize.[…]
Reports are that the mob shot and killed some of the 17 crocs held in captivity at the sanctuary. Also destroyed were the Rose’s two story home that included a laboratory and nursery for baby crocs. One baby American Crocodile was to be flown to Chicago to the Wildlife Discovery Center in Lake Forest, Ill. USA for the first ever animal exchange program between Belize and the USA. Over $2,500 in vet supplies that were recently donated for a new humane society that Cherie, along with other locals were working on in Punta Gorda were also lost. “This one wrongful incident has effected and hurt many innocent people and animals,” added Cherie.
Add this to the “but it’s just harmless fun” file.
If you want to help the sanctuary, you can donate thusly:
International wiring account number for donations
Belize Bank # 630-1-1-10130
Account# Vince & Cherie Rose Fire Victim Account
Also, my friends at Reptile World Zoo are contributing to the effort as well. Go visit them, donate, check out the critters and have a tasty Safari Burger at their cafe.
Reptile World Zoo
1733 Kodiak Road, Joplin, Mo. 64804
If you ask nicely, maybe they’ll tell you the story about how I almost got myself strangled by a pine snake.