An Update on Calvin’s Green Iguana Sanctuary

If you enjoyed Calvin’s Eco-Iguana Sanctuary last year (see my 12 Must Do Things On Your First Trip to San Pedro), the verdant mangrove oasis that surprised so many amid busy San Pedro town, you will find something very different today. The Iguana Sanctuary was a popular tourist attraction that brought people into town has changed…alot.

Green iguana climbing mangrove

See the “before” in my 2021 post: Jungle In Downtown San Pedro: MUST Visit the Iguana Sanctuary – Calvin’s Green Iguana Eco-Park

Then, I shared that during the last days of 2023, a sign had gone up.

Yes, I noted the irony of that little yellow sign
There was nothing selective about it

And the mangroves (with the iguanas still clinging to them – there had been no warning) were razed.

Iguanas clinging to the mangroves

I thought (and still think) this was a HUGE miss by the Govt of Belize – both as the majority owners of Belize Electric Company (who owns and clear-cut this lot)…and the Belize Tourism Board.

Here is what is left now. And many of you have been asking me for an update – what’s happening with Calvin and the iguanas?!

The entrance in 2023 – before:

Entrance in 2023
Entrance May 2023
This has all been filled
And just inside…

And today:

Entrance to Calvins Sanctuary 2024
The entrance today

The water filled with marl and the mangroves all gone.

Calvins lot filled

I hear many of you saying, “Isn’t cutting mangroves illegal in Belize?” It is unless you have a permit. “A person shall not alter, allow or cause to be altered any mangrove, unless the alteration is carried out under a permit received from the Forest Department.”

There was a permit here. In many other cases, laws are only effective if they are enforced.

The road is slated to be paved in the next few weeks. Hopefully, there is a drainage component because Calvin’s yard and narrow pathway have turned into water and goo.

The iguana sanctuary is still open and Calvin is talking about upgrades and repairs. He just ordered a bunch of bamboo from the mainland to work on walkways…Just make your way to the back to visit.

One of the pathways
This pathway end abruptly now

And the iguanas? Many are still there and swim across the river to sun in the mangroves across the way returning home to eat their veggies and fruits.

Iguana on Cabbage
King of the cabbage

Sadly, he had to bury about a dozen over the last few weeks. Some were injured or killed in the cutting and didn’t make it.

Pretty flower in Calvin’s garden

Depressing view.

Mangroves cleared

People are still visiting. They are still open!

Sign the guest book
Calvins very cool looking house
Calvin’s very cool looking house

The iguanas can’t eat all of the fruits! Here is a rooster enjoying the pile.

rooster on a pile of tropical veggies

Soon after, Belize Electricity Limited announced that the land would be used for additional capacity for the power grid. (see below)

Also, I’ve been hearing from many folks (over a dozen) that this land has been sold to a company that plans to build a gas station here after the temporary power needs I filled. (Right next to a gas station? This sounds…odd)

So I asked BEL and received this response from their PR office:

“Belize Electricity Limited has not sold or transferred the property, designated for the battery storage project in San Pedro, to any gas station company.

On December 29, 2023, BEL issued a press release informing the public of ground preparations to install 10MW of battery storage at a BEL owned property behind the BEL substation on Pescador Drive in San Pedro Ambergris Caye. This is the first phase of a larger plan to deploy 40MW of battery storage at strategic locations across the country.”

I hope that answers many of your questions. Stop by and chat with Calvin – he’s got ideas! And I bet he would love help. And visit the iguanas…they are still trying to figure out their space…and how NOT to sun in that big open sandy space (where dogs can get them) but they are making their way…

Nature adjusts I guess…it’s just a shame that it has to in this circumstance.

Have a great Sunday all.

Memo from BEL

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  1. Linda Monschein on February 4th, 2024 at 10:36 am

    I’m appalled and saddened by this whole debacle! Shame on them for destroying one of the BEST things about San Pedro. There are SO many other locations that could have been used for the power project.

  2. HARPO ZANEIS on February 4th, 2024 at 10:45 am

    Thanks for the update. Keep everyone informed

  3. David Martin on February 4th, 2024 at 11:23 am

    BEL Core Values and Mission Statement: “We give back to our community and protect our environment. We deliver safe, reliable and sustainable energy solutions to enhance the quality of life…”
    “We assure the community…as we continue to work together…this project is completed in a manner that is safe, sustainable, and respectful to the environment and community”.

    * BEL statements adapted from George Orwell’s 1984 (see: doublespeak)

  4. Diana Drake on February 4th, 2024 at 11:55 am

    Form a committee of residents to make a master plan to designate sites with flora n fauna to not be altered. Get majority of the residents on this committee. By whatever it takes get residents into jobs n positions that issue permits n licenses. Make your own electric authority n renegotiate with the Mexican company. Ambergris Caye residents should consider seceding from Belize. The Belize bureaucrats need Ambergris Caye tourist money generated by residents more than residents need destructive bureaucrats.

    • greg urban on February 4th, 2024 at 2:26 pm

      good idea. I second the motion.

  5. Dave Phillips on February 4th, 2024 at 12:27 pm

    There is plenty of vacant land north of the bridge. Maybe someone would work with Calvin and provide him a spot for he and his Iguanas. It would bring a lot of traffic to nearby restaurants and bars.

    • SPmQQseBZ on February 4th, 2024 at 1:23 pm

      more traffic north of the bridge is not what we need…north of the bridge.

  6. Joni on February 4th, 2024 at 1:47 pm

    In my humble opinion BEL totally screwed up or whomever heads up what they do. They destroyed one of the best things in SP town. It breaks my heart that so many iguanas were injured, killed and died. It’s shameful! I do wish there were a better place for Calvin and the iguanas, but he’s spent so much time building a beautiful house there and to leave that would be sad, too. Thank you for keeping us updated

  7. Diana Baglino on February 4th, 2024 at 3:40 pm

    Another Tragedy for the island 😫😭🤯😡😤

    Again the government is not echo friendly

    Over my 16 years in Isla Bonito ….If you have the $$$$ you can buy anything 😓

  8. Blair Anderson on February 4th, 2024 at 3:47 pm

    The clearing of the iguana area qas very disappointing for sure.

    But everyone should take notice of what is happening on the west side of the lagoon….the mangrove and jungle clearing is at a break neck pace…with some of the largest construction equipment in the world….on this little island.

    I am sure all without a permit, an environmental assessment, or any concern given to residents in starting to live in the area. Come out to secret beach, then turn south towards brahma blue…its appalling.

    • San Pedro Scoop on February 8th, 2024 at 11:56 am

      It’s overwhelming, right? All in the name of “progress”. Well..maybe in the name of money.

  9. LP on February 4th, 2024 at 4:01 pm

    SHAME! SHAME on BEL SHAME on the tourism board for not stepping in. What are we doing to this island?!!!! there’s hardly any green space left due to all the constant building. This is going to be a island of concrete before you know it.

  10. Michelle on February 4th, 2024 at 9:43 pm

    I own a lot up north near Margaritaville. I have not cleared it. The trees are so thick that they couldn’t get in to find the original survey stakes so it would need to be resurveyed. I decided not to build there as originally planned because of the distance and bought a lot in town instead. But the lot i have up north is a beautiful spot, 4th row from the sea, and I love nature, loved Calvin’s sanctuary and would love to give back somehow and become part of something bigger and better. I wonder if it could be turned into a sanctuary for wildlife. I noticed ACES also just posted that the land where they released their wildlife has also just been cleared. I love wildlife and hate to see this happening. It’s only about a 1/4 acre but it’s still in it’s completely natural state and could possibly clear only absolutely necessary spots to create access in to the lot and proper spaces like what Calvin did to allow space for the iguanas or other wildlife to live safely and walking paths for people to visit and view them. Just a thought.

    • San Pedro Scoop on February 8th, 2024 at 11:55 am

      I love that idea. I know Calvin is thinking about land near Sarteneja as well.

  11. Marina Karina on February 5th, 2024 at 8:34 am

    Selective trimming my @$$.

    • San Pedro Scoop on February 8th, 2024 at 11:53 am

      Right? It’s insulting.

  12. Melissa Rollins on February 5th, 2024 at 6:30 pm

    This makes me so sad. 🙁