This trip has seen a variety of transportation mishaps, but today took the cake. After a final morning walk, we were all set to leave for ATM cave at 7am. However, the van was not, as it had not even left its starting point, which was hours away. So we had some nice time to talk with other group members, get a presentation out of the way, and have lunch.
Finally the van appeared around noon and drove us to Georgeville, where we were to meet our tour guides for the ATM cave. However, upon arriving at the town, it became clear that it was too late to go to ATM cave (plus the bus driver wanted to drop us off and leave), so we instead stopped for lunch at the Orange Gallery, and then headed off (with a new driver) to the Belize Zoo.
The night tour of the Belize Zoo was one of the coolest things we have done so far. We got to each feed a tapir named Indy, and see two pacas, a Morlet’s crocodile, and many other species.
However, the best part of the zoo tour for me was the cats. We got to see four of the five species of cats that inhabit Belize (the jaguarundi is diurnal and thus was not out). We met a black jaguar named Lucky Boy, a very vocal ocelot, a small puma of the Belizean variety, a margay with ankles that can rotate 180 degrees to climb down trees, and another jaguar who did tricks. The Belize Zoo is an amazingly natural place that not only rescues individual animals, but also uses these individuals as ambassadors for conservation. Their pride in their natural heritage was truly inspiring!