A purpose built facility for the rehabilitation of water-birds, parrots and songbirds will enable Belize Bird Rescue to better assist Forest Department with its enforcement efforts, and help other organisations and members of the public with their conservation efforts. Belize Bird Rescue is Belize's only avian rescue, rehabilitation and release facility.
Belize's lucrative tourism industry relies on abundant wildlife, but numbers are rapidly falling. It is illegal to hunt, capture or keep any avian species without strict Forest Department issued licences, but lack of resources and cultural practices make enforcement challenging. Parrots especially are regarded as crop pests and as pets, pelicans and other sea-birds as a threat to the fishing industry, and migratory and resident passerines are rapidly losing nest sites and areas of safe passage.
Belize Bird Rescue enables the Government to carry out its enforcement mandate with a 'happy ending'. Historically confiscated birds went to the local zoo or were euthanised. Sound rehabilitation and release policies carry greater impact in education and public awareness programmes and as a result we have seen a marked increase in intakes of orphaned songbirds, confiscated parrots and injured or downed sea-birds. A purpose-built facility will make a positive difference to our existing efforts.
Wildlife conservation effects the entire population. Direct tourism revenue is over 23% of the GDP and the knock-on effect through the service industries is immeasurable. Birds are easy tourism: charismatic species such as macaws and other parrots, toucans, frigate birds, brightly coloured tanagers and majestic water-birds delight visitors of all ages and demographic. Sound avian conservation projects preserve wild populations and promote a positive image for Belize.