Baboon Sanctuary is located almost thirty miles from Belize
City, and is possibly one of the most successful stories
in wildlife conservation in the region. The Community
Baboon Sanctuary was founded in 1985 with the purpose
of protecting one of the few remaining healthy populations
of black howler monkeys in Central America. The
sanctuary got its name because locals called them baboons.
What makes this sanctuary unique is the fact that it is
a grassroots conservation program managed by the landowners
of about eight villages that make up this area.
Through sustainable land use practices and voluntary cooperation, the members of this community are ensuring the future of the black howler monkey habitat in Belize. This, in turn, has created economic benefits for the people in the form of increased tourism activities in the area. Because this model has been so highly successful in Belize, other countries in the region are already adopting it in their conservation efforts.
arrival to the village of Bermudian Landing, you will likely
be welcomed by a guide at the museum and visitor's center.
Here, you are asked to register and pay a small entrance
fee. Although you can venture onto the trails on your
own, it is recommended that you arrange for a guide since
he or she will be able to make the most of your visit by
taking you to the places where you are more likely to spot
a howler monkey troop. It is certainly a privilege
to encounter this endangered species in its natural habitat.
is the best time to catch a glimpse of the "baboon"
as it is commonly called in Belize. Mr. Fallet Young
is one of the most experienced guides at the Baboon Sanctuary,
and you may be lucky enough to have him accompany you as
you go in search of this magnificent primate. After
a short walk, you will begin to hear the distinctive rasping
howls. Black howler monkeys typically live in troops
of 4 to 12 individuals headed by a territorial and very
protective dominant male. They are strictly vegetarian
and like all primates use their hands to feed.
Female with young
Once the troop comes into sight, you will notice the male
howler responsible for the loud sounds. It is also
likely that you will spot a female, possibly carrying her
young, while others play in nearby branches. Carefully
offering fruit will allow for a closer look. Even
though they are accustomed to visitors, it is not recommended
that you do this without the supervision of a guide. They
are unpredictable wild animals that must be treated with
respect and caution. Be on the lookout for sightings
of other animals as well. After your visit you can
stop by the restaurant near the visitor's center for a refreshing
drink and a tasty Belizean meal. This visit offers
the perfect opportunity to experience rural life in Belize.