Hello From Sarteneja In Belize

Written By Nika, Latitudes Year ’20 Belize

I’m at Wildtracks in Belize, which is a rehabilitation/release center for monkeys and manatees. The owners are Paul and Zoe, who are the nicest people. They work so hard for the betterment of the animals here at Wildtracks.

Wildtracks have two different types of monkeys: Howler monkeys and Spider monkeys. I work in the nursery with the baby howler monkeys. I’ve been here for a few weeks now so I have a daily routine that I do just about everyday. It can vary with hours and with who is coming and going but it’s normally the same routine.

The group I work with there are 3 boys and 2 girls. Their names are Obi, Mowgli, Charlie, Leah and Rea. They are so energetic and love to play with each other. Obi is very energetic and oves to play with me. He also loves to try to steal my glasses off my face. Mowgli is a sweetheart. He loves to snuggle and purr in my face. He loves to lick your face. He is one of the more relaxed monkeys in the group. Charlie is very playful and loves to hangout on my head while I’m cleaning. I could just stand up and he would run and jump on my head. Leah is what I would call sweet but psycho. She can be super sweet when she wants but then seconds later will try to bite you for no reason. We call her a little demon. She is so cute and cuddly before she goes to bed. I definitely have a sweet
spot for her. Rea is like a big sister, she is a bit older than the other ones. She is shy but since I’ve got here I have seen interacting more with the others and playing way more. It is absolutely adorable to see her and all the others run around and play.

With that, I will explain what I do on a daily basis. I start my day bright and early, I get up anywhere from 5:30/6:00 am. I will either go up to the nursery to feed the baby monkeys or I will go to “fruit chop” (we cut up fruit for all the other monkeys that we have in rehabilitation). From there I will do my first shift with the baby monkeys from 6:30-7:30 am.
Then I will go have breakfast and relax until 9:30 am. and I go back down until 11:30 am. Then I have lunch and normally clean the nursery in the main house where they sleep at night. I go back at 1 pm till 3pm. During the times I am in the forest enclosure I will play with them, they will sleep or play with each other. At 3 pm someone comes down and I help feed them. They get milk with bowls of fruit. I get a break until 4, when I come back down until 4:45 (when we take Mowgli, Obi, Leah and Charlie to nursery in the main house). Rea is old enough to sleep outside. Then around 5:15pm they get fed and at 5:45pm we get them to bed which can take a bit cause they can be very clingy at this time since they know we are putting them to bed. Then I’m done for the night and we eat dinner as a group which can vay night to night.

I have enjoyed getting such an amazing opportunity to help these monkeys and see them grow up. I loved getting to know the babies and seeing each of their personalities. I love being here and getting to spend time with people who have the same interest as me: a love for animals. I love having group dinners and getting to go out every so often to Sarteneja for karaoke. I love spending time with the people and laughing.

This is such a great opportunity for people who love animals. I will definitely try to come back!