Belize is a compact Caribbean jungle nation with a supreme density and diversity of life. History, geology, geography, and luck have shaped the lives of humans and crocodiles here, and the CRC (Crocodilian Research Coalition) is laboring to mold this relationship into something sustainable and accessible.
Dr. Marissa Tellez, the founder of the CRC, has assembled a team of researchers and conservationists that are working on all levels to understand the crocodiles that inhabit the waterways of Belize and communicate what they’ve learned not only to the global scientific community , but to the people who live alongside them. It is a team that is equally comfortable in a lab coat, mingling with Money, barefoot in thigh high mud, and hands on with wild crocodiles. Dr. Tellez brought in two colleagues, Dr. Luis Sigler and Flavio Morrissiey to aid in a specific mission. Sigler is a wildlife veterinarian with the Dallas World Aquarium, and Morrissiey is a behaviorist with the Crocodilian Specialist Group.
Gilly and Sam are two Morelet’s crocodiles that were under the care of Carol and Richard Foster. The couple were acclaimed wildlife filmmakers who dedicated their lives to documenting the natural world, and they had a sincere connection to these animals. Carol was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and Richard became her caretaker. In the summer of 2018, Richard was murdered, a robbery that left Carol without the means to remain in their home or care for the crocs. These crocodiles had become too habituated to humans, and Carol became concerned for their future, so she asked the CRC for help.
In this case, the role of the CRC goes beyond research. The memory of Richard Foster, the well being of the community, and the lives of these individual animals punctuate a monumental effort to conserve wildlife in Belize.