Today, I left my forest haven. It’s certainly been a wild ride with my cockroach buddies, witnessing firsthand the cockroach species of Belize. While I didn’t mean the farewell to be sentimental, sometimes nature has its own plans. As I prepared to pack my belongings onto the (very late) bus, I noticed a small cockroach that I had identified previously in my records running across the open clearing towards me. This was strange to me, as it was the middle of the day, and the roach was terribly exposed in the open field. It seemed in a bit of a hurry, so I let it keep on with its business. However, deep inside me, I almost felt a sentimental connection with the roach, bidding it farewell as I drove in the class bus to our new lodgings in preparation for Glover’s Reef.
We drove from Las Cuevas and stopped at the Belize Zoo Lodge after a few hours of finagling with a mixed up bus schedule. At the zoo, we had the opportunity to see up close the mammals that inhabited the forest surrounding the Las Cuevas research station (the Chiquibul forest). The zoo staff showed the various big cats like jaguars, ocelots, and pumas and shared the backstories behind how the zoo obtained these beautiful felines. Many of the creatures from the zoo were rescued by the forestry departments, either from neglectful pet owners or simply weaker individuals from the wild.
While today felt more like a luxury visit, complete with ice cold drinks and gift shops, I needed to remind myself that the tropical field biologist adventure is still ongoing.