In 2008, Bulldog and Taz were rescued from near death by ACES at farm in Cayo District. They were being kept illegally in a small metal vat in horrific conditions for almost two years. With no freshwater and no dry land, the crocs were laying in putrid water of decayed food scrapes, feces and urine. Emaciated, they both were near starvation, dehydrated and had evidence of metabolic bone disease. Their survival was questionable.
Assisted by the Belize Forest Department Vince, Cherie, and ACES's research student at the time, Marisa Tellez, set out from Punta Gorda at 4:00 am and drove three hours to Belmopan, Belize's capitol, to pick up two Forest Officers; and then drove another one and half hours into the mountains to a remote Mennonite village where the two Crocodylus moreletii, Morelet's freshwater crocodiles, were being ill-kept illegally. Once we rescued them, we loaded them in the back of the truck into two plastic culverts and started the long trek home.
After reaching about an hour south of Belmopan we came to Kendall bridge, the only bridge to cross the Sittee River heading further south to Punta Gorda (PG). Due to the hurricane last month, the bridge had been destroyed and a temporary crossing was in place. When we crossed over at 6:00 am the water was to the top of the temporary bridge, which was made of culverts, gravel and dirt. Needless to say, by the time we reached back at around 2:00pm, the rains from the previous night had caused a rise in the river and the temporary bridge had been destroyed.
We abandoned the comforts of our truck and took the crocs out of the culverts.
We crossed the by boat carrying what provisions we felt most important and of course, the crocodiles. Once we reached the other side, we caught the last bus south. The larger 6 foot croc, Bulldog, was placed under the bus in the cargo hold while the other 4 foot croc, Taz, was placed on our laps for the two and a half hour ride to PG. Reaching our friend's residence at midnight, we had to awake them to borrow their truck. When we opened the cargo hold, Bulldog had untied himself. Maybe we should have called him Houdini. Vince had to climb into the hold and wrestle Bulldog, who was in a very bad mood from the bumpy ride, by flashlight. Next we borrowed the truck, was provided with dinners to go by Miss Bella, loaded the crocs and finally headed for the last trek homeward bound. Upon reaching home, at 1:30 am, we put the smaller croc in Marisa's bathtub temporarily. Next, we drained my dipping pool and designed a lid for Bulldog for the night. We ate and went to sleep almost 24 hours later at 3:00am. Bulldog and Taz were rescued!
Both crocs were rehabilitated at ACES. A year later on April 8th, 2009, Taz was well enough to be re-release into the wild. Although now healthy, Bulldog never grew back his teeth (as seen at the right, Dec. 2010). It is not known if Bulldog survived the arson.