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Whale Shark Tagging Expedition Deemed a Toothy Success

Whale Sharks in Belize

Whale Sharks in Belize

Researchers gained 3 more Sharks for Adoption.

Non-profit organization Iemanya Oceanica today announced the addition of 3 newly tagged
whale sharks to their family of sharks for research and conservation.  The 3 new sharks are available to the public for adoption online and represent the need for urgent conservation of sharks.

The organization’s Adopt A Shark Program now has a total of 10 sharks that, with the aide of the tags, will help provide data to assist in conservation of these mysterious and
misunderstood creatures.
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BHA Attends Addison Tradeshow in Canada

Teresa Parkey and Robin McCutcheon

Teresa Parkey and Robin McCutcheon

Teresa Parkey and Robin McCutcheon recently returned from a whirlwind four-day, four-city trip to eastern Canada, representing the Belize Hotel Association (BHA) and Belize tourism at the prestigious Addison Trade Shows, as part of BHA’s Global Marketing Initiative.

The Addison shows are run annually in Canada, and attract up to 8,000 travel professionals in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and London. The Belize booth enticed visitors with ‘giveaways’, including Hot Mama’s Habanero fudge, and BHA’s branded nail-files promoting ‘smooth, snag-less travel’, and featured a large-scale map of Belize, illustrating just how easy it is for visitors to move around the country. Specially-prepared flyers in both English and French were distributed, giving general information on Belize, and the representatives fielded many questions from those who have already sent customers to Belize, as well as new prospects. (more…)

Regional cruise tourism up in a down economy

Cruise spending is up in a down economy in destinations visited by cruise line-members of the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association.

Cruise tourism boosted revenues for ports and businesses in Florida, Latin America and the Caribbean in one of the gloomiest financial years since the Great Depression, according to an FCCA-commissioned study from Business Research and Economic Advisors.

BREA reported that FCCA-regional cruise tourism in 2008-2009 generated more than $2.2 billion in direct expenditures, 56,000 jobs and $720 million in employee wages among 29 destinations surveyed.

“This certainly is wonderful news, but it doesn’t surprise me,” Michele M Paige, FCCA president, told association members attending the 16th Annual Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association’s Conference and Trade Show in St Lucia. “FCCA members are known for seeing opportunities — not obstacles.” (more…)

New 3D Film Delves Deep Inside the Extreme Nature of Bats

 Belize chosen to illustrate ancient Mayan ceremonial practices and bat cave etchings

Belize chosen to illustrate ancient Mayan ceremonial practices and bat cave etchings

When Greg Passmore, president of San Diego-based 3D Production Studio PassmoreLab recently uttered the words ‘to the bat cave’, he wasn’t referring to atomic batteries to power, turbines to speed, Robin, The Dark Knight or Dracula. But all signs point to his bat cave being every bit as entertaining, creepy and biting.

Passmore was referring to a Texas bat cave where he was filming part of his latest science movie, “The Extreme Nature of Bats”, that has a resident population of 12 million of the little flying fanged mammals. These bats are as important to the surrounding ecosystem – and every single ecosystem in the world for that matter — as the clean air and water that support them. But as beneficial as they are to nature controlling pests, pollinating plants and dispersing seeds, they can often be as deadly. Known carriers of the rabies virus — which can be fatal to humans and animals — bats’ dark reputation as nightstalkers is as much fact as it is fiction, and Passmore’s production is traveling the world filming bats in order to tell a balanced truth about them. (more…)

World Drug Problem Addressed By Belize and Regional Partners

Rosendo Urbina

Rosendo Urbina

This past weekend representatives from the Embassy of Belize to Mexico attended a meeting in Mexico City to address the World Drug Problem. The meeting was titled “Regional Meeting of Ministers on the World Drug Problem: Security and Cooperation” included 16 countries from Latin America and the Caribbean.

The purpose of the meeting was to reinforce the fight against the world drug problem in a coordinated manner and with a comprehensive and balanced approach. Marcelino Miranda is the Head of the Press and Border Section at the Mexican Embassy.

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Mesoamerican Society Meeting in Belize

Elma Kay

Elma Kay

The Mesoamerican Society for Biology and Conservation is meeting in Belize for its 13th Congress. The group’s membership is vast: it numbers all Mesoamerican countries and Cuba, which means Mexico, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, El Salvador and Cuba.

The number of participants is huge: it includes researchers, students and policy makers who will be meeting all week at the biggest conference rooms at the Radisson and the Biltmore. UB is providing institutional support and Director General for this year’s event is Elma Kay. (more…)

Burdick Lecture to focus on preserving tropical biodiversity

Sharon Matola, founding director of the Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center in Belize, Central America, will deliver the 17th annual H.O. Burdick Memorial Lecture in Biology at Alfred University campus.

Her topic is “Conservation Action in Belize: Work that Works to Protect Biodiversity. Her talk is open to the public, free of charge.

Matola, who has dedicated her life to conservation of Belize’s wildlife through education, founded the Zoo’s education department in 1986 to increase awareness and appreciation of the natural world; promote “recognition and understanding of Belize’s unique ecosystems and diverse wildlife; and “instill sound knowledge, positive attitudes and valuable skills… (to) aid in the preservation of Belize’s natural resources.” (more…)

Rainforest Carbon Remove Society and HRH, The Prince of Wales, hope to Save the Rainforests

The Rainforest Carbon Remove Society, a non-profit society founded in Canada with operations in Belize, has joined His Royal Highness, Prince Charles, in taking a stand against deforestation of the world’s rainforests. The Society’s mandate to create a long-term sustainable economic and permaculture-based farming model and training school at an organic cacao farm in Southern Belize; and to implement carbon reduction and sequestration technologies has earned them a page on The Prince’s Rainforests Project site.

Ron Dewhurst, President of The Rainforest Carbon Remove Society said “I was delighted when Yalda Davis, the Prince’s Communications Officer, posted information about our organization on The Prince’s Rainforests Project site. Rainforest deforestation affects us all. The more publicity that we can generate to save the rainforests, the better it will be for everyone on this planet. (more…)

10 secret Caribbean beaches in Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, the Bahamas and more

Our Sister Island, Caye Caulker

Our Sister Island, Caye Caulker

The best way to appreciate the splendor of a Caribbean beach is to experience it the way the locals do. Susan West, editor in chief of Afar, the new magazine about experiential travel, recommends these sand ’n’ surf spots:

10. LITTLE CORN ISLAND, NICARAGUA
You won’t find any big resorts on Little Corn, about 45 miles off the east coast of Nicaragua. Just a coral-sand beach, warm waters, coconut palms and comedors (small eateries) serving large platters of fresh lobster.

9. ACCRA BEACH, BARBADOS
Rent a boogie board and follow the islanders riding the gentle waves onto Accra Beach’s tender shore, located on the southern coast of this eastern Caribbean nation.

8. BATHWAY BEACH, GRENADA
Protected by a barrier reef, this undeveloped beach in Levera National Park, in the northeast corner of the lower Caribbean country, is where Grenadans go to swim. Scarlet ibis roost in the park’s mangroves nearby.

7. PIÑONES BEACH, PUERTO RICO
Snack shacks selling crispy, meat-filled empanadillas and pasteles lure locals to this golden slice of sand just outside of San Juan.

6. CAYE CAULKER, BELIZE
Snorkel with the sharks and stingrays near the island’s palm-shaded beach in this small Central American nation. At the nearby Sunset View disco, you might learn the punta, the fast-moving dance of the local Garifuna people. (more…)

The Cuba-Belize Intergovernmental Meeting Concludes in Havana

The 12th Cuba-Belize Intergovernmental Meeting ended on Friday October 23rd with the signing of a Cooperation Protocol for the 2009- 2010 period. The document was signed by Cuban Minister for Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca, and Belizean Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Wilfred Elrington.

The joint responsibility in sectors like health, education, agriculture, sugar, foreign
affairs, trade, transportation and disaster management was agreed at the end of the working sessions.

Elrington, highlighted Cuba’s support for the development of several of these cooperation programs despite the difficult international situation, worsened by the global economic crisis. He also pointed out Belize’s interest in reciprocating the aid offered by Cuba. Malmierca made reference to the increasing expansion of cooperation in sectors of mutual interest and to the increasing interest in materializing all accords within the frameworks agreed.

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