Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Barbados Wildlife Reserve

In the words of the Barbados Wildlife Reserve "Once you enter the gates of the Barbados Wildlife Reserve you are in the animal's world.  Except for a few cages animals like the snakes, birds, iguanas and cayman the rest are left to travel as they please through the reserve.

No two visits to the reserve are ever the same lol except for yes the turtles are always mating. I have heard many visitors to Barbados say it was the highlight of their trip to watch the monkey swinging through the trees while they play. They are such precocious animals. I have seen them take piggy back rides on a tortoise, play catch with a live frog and tag with a fawn. They are truly an endless source of entertainment.

The Reserve is located in the parish of St Peter opposite Farley Hill National Park it comprises  4 acres of land some of which is planted with banana plants and other vegetable to feed the animals. The visitor section of the reserve  lies in an enclosed area under a canopy of mahogany trees with winding red brick pathways beneath. If you look closely at the bricks, you can still see the stamps of the manufacturing companies. the bricks were brought to Barbados by ships, which used them as ballast. During the 17th and 18th centuries, these red bricks were used to construct boiler furnaces in Barbados sugar factories.

Canadian parasitologist Jean Baulu, and his wife Suzanne, moved to Barbados from Montreal and founded the Barbados Primate Research Centre in 1982. Baulu later opened Barbados Wildlife Reserve, in 1985  with seed money from the Canadian International Development Agency. All buildings at the reserve are constructed our of natural coral stone. The large wheel in front of the snack bar was acquired from a old sugar factory and was once used to drive rollers for crushing the sugar cane. The small concrete and iron wheels at the entrance were used by tractors when rubber was available (e.g during the war)

Opening hours for the Barbados Wildlife Reserve are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Entrance fees are US$12 per adult and half price for children under 12

For most the biggest attraction at the wildlife reserve is the Barbados Green Monkey, Green monkeys are the only species of monkey in Barbados. They are called "green" because their coats are brown and gray, with olive green highlights, which have a green sheen in the sunlight. Barbados green monkeys can grow to 2 feet  tall. They live in troops of about 15 and have a life span of about 30 years.
The monkeys originally came from Senegal and Gambia, West Africa. Historians believe that they were brought to Barbados, on slave ships, as gifts for the early settlers about 350 years ago.

From as early as 1684 a bounty was temporarily imposed on green monkeys. In 1975, the population  of monkeys skyrocketed to over 8,000, causing millions of dollars damage to fruit and vegetable crops. On some farms, crop destruction amounted to 40 per cent of the harvest.

The Barbados government reinstated a bounty of $5B for every tail brought into the Ministry of Agriculture. To rescue the monkeys, the primate center offered to pay a bounty of $25B for each monkey captured alive and unharmed in cage-traps provided by the centre.

Data from the Barbados Primate Research Centre and blood bank are used for genetic, immunologic, epidemiological and virology research and teaching.

The isolation of Barbadian monkeys from their African cousins has resulted in a disease-free population. (Barbados green monkeys do not carry the AIDS virus, which afflicts many of their species in Africa, for example. The former agricultural pests have saved human lives. Their kidney tissue culture was used to manufacture polio vaccines that have successfully controlled and prevented this once-frightening and crippling disease.

Other animals that can be found in the reserve include tortoises, mallards, peacocks, guinea foul, caiman, iguana, rabbits and a sizable collection of various birds. There is also a large python that was a gift from the Ravensden Zoo in the United Kingdom. the deer found in the reserve are Brocket deer and were a gift from the Emperor Valley Zoo in Trinidad

We at Glory Tours are happy to provide you with several tour options including the Barbados Wildlife Reserve and we would be delighted if you would join us in paying a visit to The Barbados Wildlife Reserve one day soon :o)

Provided with the compliments of your friends at Glory Tours. The #1 Provider of Sightseeing Tours in Barbados http://glorytours.org/

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