Published Research Biologist, ACES CO-Founder, Living Kidney Donor
Graduating from Slippery Rock University in 1989 with Bachelors of Science Degrees in Biology and Psychobiology, Cherie studied at the Wallops Island Marine Science Consortium and was a member of the Lambda Sigma Honorary Society, Westminster College. Her work experience includes: Co-Founder of ACES, Belize; Biological Field Technician; Wildlife Assistant, Colorado Division of Wildlife; Biological Ground-fish Observer, National Marine Fisheries, A.K.; and, Environmental Coordinator/Instructor, Barrier Island Environmental Education Center, S. C., USA. Cherie has over thirty years experience with the handling and husbandry of reptiles, including venomous snakes; various lizards; exotic turtles; American alligators; caiman; and, Morelet's and American crocodiles. Additionally, she has extensive knowledge in crocodilian diseases. Cherie has numerous published crocodilian articles in several countries; and, thousands of hours educating interns, local authorities, the public, and school children on everything from safe and humane handling techniques, scientific data collection, tagging, and sexing, to methods of safely coexisting with these magnificent apex predators. Finally, Cherie has been personally responsible for the care, successful rehabilitation, and eventual re-release, of hundreds of wild crocodiles and other wildlife.
Crocodile Behaviorist, Wildlife Rescuer, Expert Croc Wrangler, ACES Co-Founder
With over thirty-five years of studying, tracking, hunting, and trapping all forms of wildlife, Vince is exceptionally knowledgeable in apex predator behaviors. His behavioral studies include bears of the Rocky Mountains and Australia’s freshwater and saltwater crocodiles. With over thirty years experience handling various species of crocodilians, including highly endangered Siamese crocodiles, and venomous snakes such as Fer-de-Lance, Vince has spent countless hours studying the behavior of wild, American and Morelet’s crocodiles. He has thousands of safe, live crocodilian captures, relocations, and re-releases via various humane methods (i.e. snares, traps, nets and by hand). Additionally, Vince is a professional trainer in the safe handling of crocodiles and has trained international Herpetologists and interns, now operating their own crocodile rescue programs; Belize Forest Department, Police Department, and Defense Forces Officers; and the USA Coast Guard Auxiliary in Florida. His expertise is internationally recognized, and Vince been the primary crocodilian handler for productions with Animal Planet, USA and UK; National Geographic, Poland; World Wildlife Federation; Poland; Patly Productions, France; Travel Channel, USA; and Swedish film crews. For ten years, Vince was Belize’s primary crocodilian conservation consultant, and notably has always captured the specific targeted animal due to his expertise in Crocodilian behavior. Vince is one of the World’s leading experts on American crocodile behaviors.
Crocodile Behaviorist, Wildlife Rescuer, Expert Croc Wrangler, ACES Director of Operations
Chris Summers began volunteering for the American Crocodile Education Sanctuary (ACES) in 2010 with a desire to learn and assist in any aspect he could with crocodile conservation in Belize. Throughout the first few months of volunteering Summers completed ACES Research and Conservation Internship Program and gained a basic understanding of humane trapping, safe handling, crocodile behavior and biology.
From 2010 to 2014 he continued to work full-time for ACES and studied under Marine Biologist Cherie Rose, and leading expert in American crocodile behavior Vince Rose. During these years, Summers was taught various methods of trapping crocodiles, assisted in relocation of nuisance animals, conducted numerous community outreach projects including school and summer camp visits, trained police and forestry officers, and attending educational events. He learnt how to properly conduct accurate population studies during numerous nocturnal eye-shine surveys conducted on Ambergris Caye, as well as Sandbore and Lighthouse Caye as part of Environmental Impact Assessments. Summers has also taken part in several water sampling projects, studying the effects of development and pollution within the wetland habitats crocodiles inhabit trying to better understand the cause of the health anomalies seen in crocodiles with increasing frequency.
In 2014, Summers took over as ACES Daily Operations Manager working alongside the Belize Forest Department to preserve the crocodile species in Belize and their wetland habitat. He oversees all ACES activities: educational outreach programs, community coexistence projects, training in humane trapping and safe handling methods, animal rescue, rehabilitation of sick and injured crocodiles, care and wellbeing of captive crocodiles, as well as physical health analysis and data collection. To this day he continues to learn and expand his knowledge of crocodilian behavior and biology by studying scientific papers written by researchers in the field throughout the world and studying crocodile behavior in the field.
Wildlife Rescuer, ACES Education and Project Coordinator
Christina Manzi began her work with ACES in 2016 by volunteering and completion of ACES Research and Conservation Internship Program. She was fascinated by the local population of American Crocodiles on Ambergris Caye and their close proximity to human habituation, and joined ACES in their mission in assisting the community in achieving harmonious human-crocodile coexistence. Through Manzi’s full-time volunteer work with ACES, she now assists in all crocodile conservation activities on Ambergris Caye and in northern Belize, including community outreach, coexistence projects, nocturnal eye-shine surveys, sexing, tagging, crocodile health analysis and data collection, rescue and humane-trapping when necessary, and oversees the care and wellbeing of captive crocodiles and the rehabilitation of sick and/or injured crocodiles.
Manzi has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Colorado at Boulder, with scientific coursework including Biology, Microbiology, Chemistry, Anatomy, Physiology, and Nutrition. While pursuing her undergraduate degree, she worked as a Project Coordinator and Research Assistant with the CUChange Lab in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. She gained experience working in Habitat Sanitation and Animal Control while volunteering at Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary and led teams in Post-Disaster Environmental Restoration with Wildlands Restoration Volunteers. With this experience, she has crafted ACES Clean Fill project, aimed at assisting the community in finding solutions to fill low-lying areas surrounding their homes with materials that will not cause further deterioration of the precious wetland habitats. With the ever increasing pollutants leaching into the waters and ill effects they have crocodiles, Manzi sees the immediate need to educate the community and adapt their habits for the future health of the crocodiles and other wildlife on Ambergris Caye.
My name is Ryan Ancona. I am an a 19 year old Belizean and an online high school student finishing my last few months of 12th grade. I've been working with ACES on the Crocodile Expeditions as a first mate since July 2016. I met Chris Summers through the local Crossfit Gym and learned about his work with crocodiles and became very interested in it, so when he started looking for a someone to help him on the boat I jumped on the opportunity. My general interest in the crocodiles turned into a love as I started learning about their biology and how complex of beings they are. I have been slowly learning about how to safely handle them, captures, and their biology. I also accompany Chris on the relocations of sick or nuisance crocodiles. The eye opening experience was with a crocodile named Phineas that was badly hurt by people who had left deep and open wounds in his neck then released him back into the water with his mouth taped and tied shut with wire. This was one of the first major events where I realized that these creatures weren't the scary man eating monsters that I was raised to believe. They are living beings like anything else. As we were carrying him to the emergency holding pen, I noticed a compassion and care for this poor guy from everyone that I hadn't ever experienced before. I realized the fear that a lot of people have is mostly a lack of understanding and the one main thing that I wish to do at ACES is to help people understand them. ACES has helped me find a love for these animals that I wouldn't have come close knowing on my own and I hope to learn and experience much more as time goes on.