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The Community Baboon Sanctuary (CBS) is a unique conservation project that protects the habitat and population of the black howler monkey (locally known as baboon) in the Belize River Valley. The sanctuary is a grassroots initiative that involves seven villages and over 200 landowners who voluntarily pledge to manage their lands in a way that benefits the monkeys and the environment. By visiting the sanctuary, you can support this community-based effort and enjoy a close encounter with these fascinating and endangered primates. The sanctuary is situated in a tropical moist forest, with a variety of habitats such as riverine forest, broadleaf forest, pine savanna and wetlands. The sanctuary is home to more than 3,000 black howler monkeys, as well as other wildlife such as crocodiles, iguanas, toucans and parrots.
The Community Baboon Sanctuary is a model of sustainability and community-based conservation. The sanctuary was established in 1985 by primatologist Dr. Robert Horwich, plant ecologist Dr. Jon Lyon and local founder Fallet Young1. They convinced the landowners in the area to sign a voluntary pledge to protect the monkeys and their habitat by following certain guidelines, such as leaving some trees standing, avoiding hunting and poaching, and limiting cattle grazing2. The sanctuary is managed by the CBS Women’s Conservation Group, which consists of an advisory council and a seven-member women executive committee that represents the seven villages. The sanctuary generates income from tourism, donations and grants, which is used to fund the conservation activities, such as monitoring, research, education and outreach. The sanctuary also provides employment and training opportunities for the local people, especially for the women and youth. The sanctuary also promotes environmental awareness and education among the visitors and the local schools, through programs such as the Junior Naturalist Club, the Environmental Education Camp and the Howler Monkey Adoption Program. The sanctuary also collaborates with other organizations and stakeholders to ensure the long-term sustainability and viability of the project.
- Wildlife watching