We are so excited to feature the work of our partner, the Belize Foundation for Research and Environmental Education (BFREE), this October in celebration of Hicatee Awareness Month. Each week, we posted about our work in partnership with BFREE with the Critically Endangered Central American River Turtle, aka “Hicatee.”
Learn more about this species in our #TurtleOfTheWeek blog here!
Part of the work we do with this species includes rewilding. Last year, Turtle Survival Alliance and BFREE team members successfully processed and released one-year-old Hicatee turtles into a river in central Belize. Rewilding is a key element of our conservation work with turtle species that are Endangered or Critically Endangered. Fighting for protected spaces, protecting natural habitats, and guiding turtles in their reintroduction are just some of the conservation efforts we do with the Hicatee.
Another element of our multi-pronged conservation efforts includes establishing a captive breeding program at the Hicatee Conservation and Research Center (HCRC), the BFREE Field Station in southern Belize. While Hicatee Awareness Month is every October, our work continues year-round in supporting these turtles in need.
“We use the ‘Save the Hicatee’ banner as a petition for all those who hear the message of Hicatee conservation and want to join in,” says Heather Barrett, Deputy Director, US for BFREE and Board member at Turtle Survival Alliance, “This was an idea I had on a whim. My colleague at the time, Tyler Sanville, grabbed a sharpie and a pen to make the first banner possible. We have created several banners in Belize and gotten thousands of signatures since 2017. I’m proud and amazed every time a new name is added and a new photo is captured. One of the reasons I have loved working for BFREE and collaborating with Turtle Survival Alliance has been that—together—the organizations have offered the support needed for freedom for ideas to take shape at that moment when they are most needed. Sometimes, it is the simplest idea that has the greatest impact,” “As partners, BFREE and Turtle Survival Alliance succeed. It is because of our commitment to collaboration that the Hicatee conservation movement in Belize has grown and thrived. I’m thrilled to see it continue to spread as our partners from WCS Belize and Savannah Field Station join the effort.”
Be sure to follow @bfreebz on Instagram, and follow the hashtag #HicateeAwarenessMonth to learn about all the ways we work to protect this species year-round.
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