Biodiversity in Belize
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Visit the Belize Toucan Trail site on Spanish Creek

Tropical Lepidoptera

Rapid Ecological Assessment & Management Plan

Spanish Creek Wildlife Sanctuary

Belize/Orange Walk District, Belize

Spanish Creek Wildlife Sanctuary (SCWS) was declared on July 8th, 2002 and covers an area of 5,985 acres of lowland tropical forest.

The area forms a link with the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management area, The Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary and The Community Baboon Sanctuary and it is very important for the continuity of the Biological Corridor in Northern Belize.

Rancho Dolores Environment and Development Group (RDEDG) is presently seeking co-management for the sanctuary from the Forest Department. This area has limited documentation on the Biodiversity of the area . But the RDEDG has received funding from the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor Project (MBCP) and the the Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT) to carry out a Rapid Ecological Assessment (REA). This REA was being carried out by Jan Meerman and his team and it is anticipated that this project (funded by the MBCP & PACT) can assist in the preparation of a management plan for this part of the Belize Biological Corridor.

This REA was completed in 2004. A geological survey has been carried out by Brian Holland of Belize Minerals Ltd. and has revealed some interesting features such as a series of springs located on a fault line.

Ecosystem and vegetation surveys have been carried out following a now standard methodology (see Mayflower page for details of this methodology). Based on this an ecosystem map has been prepared for the sanctuary.

Interesting findings include the tree Christiana africana (Tiliaceae) a species with a disjunct distribution over Africa, Central and South America. In Belize the tree is certainly uncommon if not rare.

The sanctuary is still rich in wildlife. Particularly Mexican Black Howler Monkeys are frequently heard and even seen. Central American Tapir, White-lipped Peccary, Collared Peccary, Red Brocket Deer, Jaguar and Puma use the sanctuary as part of their range.

In the river (Spanish Creek) 25 fish species have been identified. One of these is the recently introduced Tilapia. Nothing is known about the impact of the Tilapia on this aquatic ecosystem. Morelet's Crocodiles also occur in the river but the endangered Hickatee or Central American River Turtle (Dermatemys mawii) appears to have become locally extinct.

A management plan was prepared in 2015

The final reports are available for download:

Main REA report (pdf: 1,678 kb)

REA Appendices (pdf: 739 kb)

Management Plan 2016-2021 (pdf: 5,280 kb)

Visit the Spanish Creek Website or if this does not work try the Belize Toucan Trail site

Contact the Rancho Dolores Environmental Center at (501) 220-2191

Brian Holland investigating rock formations Upper reaches of Spanish Creek


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Last modified: December 10, 2015