“What a crazy, amazing, eye-opening experience this was. It truly is a magical place where rehabilitation, conservation and education efforts happen daily through Paul, Zoe and all the volunteers’ hard work. On the day of my arrival, I had no idea what to expect, who I was going to meet, what I was going to be doing and honestly, where I was even going. But, after two long plane rides, one crazy bus ride and a short car ride, I was home. I spent my month working with a troop of five Black Yucatan Howler baby monkeys. The troop I worked with was called “Annie’s Troop” and were the five most precious, fun, silly, outgoing baby monkeys ever.
I absolutely loved waking up every morning knowing that I was going to hang out with them. I fed the monkeys five times a day and when I was not feeding them I was sitting in their enclosure with them. Baby howler monkeys are used to being with their mothers constantly in the wild, so when they were taken away from their mothers for various reasons (mainly the illegal pet trade) someone had to be there to act as a “mother-replacement”. I spent most of my days hanging out with Annie’s Troop, however, when I wasn’t up in the nursery, I spent time reading books, going sea grassing for the manatees and helping out where ever was needed.
Once the monkeys and other animals went to sleep around 5pm, there was plenty of time to hang out and get to know the other volunteers. I can truly say I have made some really awesome and best friends. Some nights we would take trips into Sarteneja where there are local shops, restaurants and internet cafes to visit. I loved the village of Sarteneja, everyone there is very kind and helpful. Overall, my experience was downright the best experience I have ever had. The most difficult part of being here was having to say goodbye to the monkeys I worked with. Wildtracks is a heaven for animals, the ones who are not able to speak for themselves. The whole organisation that Paul and Zoe have built from the ground up is incredibly inspiring. I will never forget my stay in Belize and will without a doubt be returning there soon.”
Noa Parker – 2017