It’s October, and various croc and wildlife institutions around the world are celebrating the month of Croctober! October has become an unofficial month of crocodile awareness internationally; many zoos and sanctuaries focus their educational and fundraising efforts with Croctober Fest to raise money for crocodile research and conservation. The CRC is joining the campaign and we started our Croctober Festivities with a bang with our Next Gen Croc trainees from Ocean Academy, Caye Caulker.
Next Gen Croc (Eyeshine with a Purpose) is a collaboration between Ocean Academy, FAMRAC and the CRC to foster the new generation of wildlife enthusiasts while also assisting students build up their communication, leadership, and scientific skills. Next Gen Croc was inspired by Ocean Academy’s Sports With A Purpose program (BLAH). So how is this program going to work?
Selected students from Ocean Academy will lead croc eyeshine and nigh mangrove tours. These tours will include: eyeshining for crocs, discussion about the mangrove and other noctural wildlife that may be seen during the tour, and educating tourists about the some of the constellations that can be seen throughout the night sky. The CRC was donated an iPad, and the iPad will be used to show guests up-close pics of crocs and their biology, constellations, etc. Additionally, 1/month the students will take official nocturnal eyeshine data of crocs. At the end of the school year, the CRC will mentor students on how to analyze data and write up a report for the Forest Department to assist in local conservation management decisions. Additionally, every 5 years Ocean Academy students will assist CRC in writing up a scientific article for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal about the population biology and management of crocodiles on Caye Caulker. Needless to say, we are creating the new generation of local croc experts! Stay tuned for the official launch date!
Part of the proceeds from Next Gen Croc will go towards FAMRAC’s efforts in protecting croc habitat in the northern part of the caye, CRC’s educational awareness campaign, but the majority will go towards providing financial assistance to student tuition.
On Oct 3, 7 students were recognized by CRC, FAMRACC and Ocean Academy as Junior CRC Crocodile Experts. We looked forward to this new initiative and the positive impact it will have on the student’s but also the community.