By Benjamin Flowers, Staff Reporter
The Belize Zoo held a special fundraiser, on Saturday, in collaboration with the embassy of the Republic of China Taiwan, and Travellers Liquors.
The three parties gathered at the at Travellers Heritage Museum, at 2 ½ miles Philip Goldson Highway, Belize City, to hold an auction, where the proceeds from all the sales will go directly to renovating and upgrading the veterinary clinic and commissary for the Zoo.
Founding Director of the Belize Zoo, Sharon Matola, explained that the facility, which serves over 15,000 visitors annually, has been operating since the late 1980’s and was in need of repairs.
“Belize needed a place for the people of Belize to get to know and appreciate their wildlife and that’s what kept me here,” Matola said. “Back when I started in the 1980’s the George Price Highway wasn’t paved yet but people came. And when you think about it, where else would they have seen a jaguar or tapir at that time?”
The Ambassador of the Republic of China (Taiwan), His Excellency Benjamin Ho, to assist with the effort, donated five Chinese painting prints portraying the year of the monkey, as well as three bottles of Kaoliang Liquor in decorated porcelain bottles.
Ho explained that the donations are special because they are prints of the winning entries for the country’s annual painting competition, which usually has over 100,000 entries. The wine is also not for sale at any other time.
“They are not for sale anywhere in the world,” Ho said. “They are bottled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the ‘ROCT,’ they are in original porcelain bottles, each one costing around $500.”
Apart from the painting and wine, the Zoo also auctioned stuffed monkeys to patrons, in honour of the cultural celebration and collaboration with the ROCT.