Latitudes Year: Wildtraks

Post by Hollyn H

Wildtraks, in Sarteneja, Belize, was the perfect placement for me. I can’t believe that it’s almost over but I guess time flies when you’re having fun. Wildtraks is a rehabilitation center for primates and manatees. They have spider and howler monkeys of all ages but my job is to care for several baby howler monkeys in the nursery. When I first got here, i was only responsible for two monkeys named max and maya, but now I help take care of seven. I feel so at home here and have met wonderful people from all over the world who share my love for conservation of wildlife.

Everyday I wake up at 6:00 and walk past the sun rising over the lagoon on my way to the nursery. Then, I start the first of the five daily monkey feeds which consists of brows, fruit and milk. Most of the monkeys I look after used to be pets or were in the process of being sold when they were rescued and sent to Wildtraks for rehabilitation. I sit in with a group of four young monkeys for the majority of the day while rotating with one other person. The older monkeys at Wildtraks get little human contact, but because mine are so young it is important that they receive motherly attention so it is my job to fill that role and provide support for them whenever they need a shoulder to cry on. Wildtraks has an amazing success rate on releases to the wild because all the focus is put on what is best for the animals. However, the volunteers still get time to themselves and opportunities for fun.

When the work day is over, the other volunteers and I hangout in the main house before and after dinner. We chat there and play games and sometimes we walk into town to go to the local cafes and dance club. Sometimes during the day there’s time go to the sanote and swim or take a dip in the lagoon on the property if Khalesi, the manatee is not nearby.

I highly recommend Wildtraks for future Carpe Diem students that are passionate about animal conservation. You get to have once in a lifetime hands on experience with these amazing creatures. You will be able to feel proud of what you’re doing and know that you are making a difference in these animals lives. The days are sometimes long but it makes it better when you get to work with interesting people from all over the world. Many people who come to Wildtraks, including myself, make lifelong connections with volunteers and staff. Wildtraks completely exceeded my expectations and has been the best time of my life. It allowed me to grow and discover my passions and goals in life. I couldn’t have asked for a better gap year