|Paws UP to Belize Zoo Staff!!!|
After working long and hard on the day of our 32nd Belizean Independence, Zoo staff Tony Garel, Francesco Chock and George Choc were headed home. The zoo was closed for visits on the 21st of September. However, our special animals are unaware of these important celebrations. They still need fresh water and dinner, no matter what the day. You can bet that jaguar Junior Buddy, Panama the harpy eagle and Brutus the crocodile, are totally clueless about national holidays!
Driving west on the George Price Highway in the vicinity of Cotton Tree, the zoo crew saw a red pick up truck which had run off the road. It was full of young students. For a moment, they all thought a minor vehicle problem caused the road detour. But stopping to check, they saw that the girls in the back of the truck were crying. Tony Garel, who is the Animal Supervisor at the zoo, noted that no other vehicle stopped to investigate. To his surprise, one vehicle which did stop, chose not to render assistance.
And assistance was urgently needed. Two of the young students were unconscious. Immediate medical attention was required. Fortunately, Tony Garel has a firm background in first aid. With his guidance and firm advice, George and Francisco kept the girls as calm as possible. Close friends and family members were given a ride along with the girls in need of medical care. Off they went to the hospital in Belmopan. The emergency team there reported that their symptoms reflected heat stroke. Indeed, earlier that day, the entire student squad had been marching in the sun in Belmopan as part of our September Independence celebrations. How serious is heat stroke? A medical professional was consulted. She reported that heat exhaustion, or heat stroke, causes a dangerous lowering of blood pressure, which can lead to systemic shock and organ failure. In some cases, people affected with heat stroke die.
Fortunately for the students, the competent and heroic attention given by the staff at The Belize Zoo, and further assistance received from the medical staff at the Belmopan hospital, saw that their Independence Day had a happy ending. They were kept in the hospital for three hours, and then discharged. The incident reflects the caring and responsible principles which are part of the everyday working agenda at The Best Little Zoo in the World. We care about the animals of Belize. And that includes our two- legged Belizean species, as well!
Black Jaguar “Lucky Boy” joins the entire zoo staff in giving a well-deserved bigger-than-big PAWS UP to Tony, Francisco and George. They are true heroes for providing important assistance to the students in need of urgent help on our 32nd anniversary of Belizean Independence.