Belize and Northern Central America is a conservation hot-spot. Approximately 40% of Belize is under protection; by far the largest percentage in the least populous country in Central America. Neighboring Guatemala and Mexico also conserve large areas of lowland tropical forest. This means that there is a lot to protect. Threats from population growth, human-wildlife conflict, the illicit pet trade, illegal resource extraction and international incursions are increasing. Belize is endowed with the largest living barrier reef in the world, and the largest contiguous forest in the region. In the heart of the Neo-Tropics, the region harboring the highest concentration of Bio-diversity in the world, conservation in the region is of critical global importance. Wildlife Institute interns and students visit the region in the spirit of conservation, and to learn. It is a testament to Belize that the Belize Wildlife & Referral Clinic and Wildlife Institute interns have returned repeatedly; to continue the work they started through a course or internship and to continue to give back to a country and region full of promise and hope.
While you are in Belize and the region, you will have the opportunity to see nature free of human impact; corals, rain forests, wildlife, and stunning scenery. But you will also see nature in retreat. The realities of a developing country can be harsh and shocking at times. Central America presents great contrasts; at once a peaceful, democratic nations racing toward development; and an backdrop for unsustainable growth. The areas where we work are last regional strongholds for wildlife; and much help is needed. The Wildlife Institute exists to provide a direct benefit to the organizations working to conserve the region’s wildlife and protected areas; made possible by governmental and non-governmental communities, and educational partners around the world.
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