We have been diligently working to get the new DWA website up and going! Although we still have a few areas in which we are improving and the bulk of the work has been completed, this delayed the last newsletter for 2011. We hope the website will be more informative, user friendly and updated on a regular basis.
We enjoyed the holiday season, with many visitors at the DWA. Our employee Holiday Celebration was again shared with 50 participants selected by Child Protective Services. This annual event helps end each year with a reminder of what is truly important in life and too often taken for granted and how to better focus on the new year.
Easy to see are some of the Winter Water Babies on exhibit in both the Aquarium and Mundo Maya. The Book of the Month is a children’s book that includes information about two of the babies. Not to exclude the Rainforest, Capuchinbirds that have been hand raised in the nursery may not be as easy to locate, as they are free to fly throughout the “Lek.”
Staff member Luis Sigler, recently visited the Roberto Franco Tropical Biological Station in Villavicencio, Colombia to observe their facility and share information about the Orinoco crocodile. It is the most important breeding center for this species in Colombia, with approximately 400 specimens at the station. In Colombia, there is little known about the status of the Orinoco crocodile and the importance of the conservation of the species.
On Earth Day 2011, five manatees were moved from the Manatee Rescue Center near Iquitos Peru to the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve and placed in a holding pen where they were satellite-tagged. This was an intermediate step in order to introduce them back into their natural environment in a protected area where their activities could be monitored prior to their permanent, total release. Over the remainder of the year, their movements, eating habits and social interactions were observed and documented. One participant in this monitoring was Sarah Landeo, a 24-year-old student from the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina in Lima, Peru. Born in Geneva, Switzerland, Sarah has lived in Peru since 1992. After graduating from the Universidad in 2009, she volunteered at ACOBIA-DWAzoo and during 2010, continued her work at the facility, in preparation for her thesis, on which she is presently working (“Habitat Use in Dry Season for the Amazonian manatees, Trichechus inunguis, Released in El Dorado Lake at Samiria Pacaya National Reserve”). The manatees are now released, back into their natural habitat. Sarah concludes that they have adapted extremely well to their new environment. Enjoy the images taken by Sarah during her stay at El Dorado and her Thank You Letter.
Thanks for helping make 2011 another great year.
Daryl Richardson, Director