Make your voice heard! Stand up for Big Red!

Big Red

Placencia Humane Society (PHS) insists on the removal of Big Red from Norwegian Cruise Line’s Harvest Caye. PHS also insists that Big Red be returned to rehabilitation, then released into the Rainforest, his natural habitat.
Big Red is a scarlet macaw, an endangered species. Estimates number their population on our planet between 200 to 400.
Our reasons for his removal are based on research and phone calls with both Forest Department (FD) and Nikki Buxton, Managing Director of Belize Bird Rescue (BBR).
PHS’ concerns focus exclusively on the health and humane well-being of the bird.
Big Red was confiscated out of illegal captivity by FD, and resettled for rehabilitation with BBR in October, 2016. FD admittedly considers BBR “their partner,” turning to the group when birds require special care and attention. BBR understood the young bird was to be rehabilitated and eventually returned to the wild. FD disputes this claim, saying the bird was never to be released into the wild, and on 23 May, 2017, the bird was, with only two hours notice to BBR, transported to Norwegian Cruise Line’s Harvest Caye.
PHS questions FD’s decision to return him to a life of captivity, and not release him to his natural environment. When PHS asked FD why, FD replied: “We have our reasons,” without offering any.
PHS looks to the work of veterinarian Dr. Fernando Martinez, director of ARCAS, a wildlife protection and rescue center in neighboring Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve. His group has successfully returned captive-bred macaws to their natural environments, boosting their endangered numbers by 5%.
Rehabilitation and return to the wild should have been, and still must be, the future of Big Red.

Harvest Caye is an island. Big Red’s home is the Rainforest. Nikki Buxton states: “Harvest Caye is an inappropriate environment for this bird. He now faces challenges to his eyes, ears, respiratory system, feathers, and his metabolic functions. He is being exposed to parasitic conditions on the caye that are foreign to him in his natural habitat.”
Harvest Caye sits in the first line rage of hurricanes. Evacuation off the caye would be considerable for all, not to mention the untold consequences of unsettling Big Red.
Harvest Caye is an artificial, man-made tourist environment, designed by a Disney imagineer. Cruise tourists can and should arrange tours to the real Rainforest to see the scarlet macaw in his home. That is both humane for the bird, and educational for the cruiser. Big Red is not a side show. He is not entertainment for cruise passengers waiting for their ship to depart.
Big Red is an endangered species.

Is it too late for Big Red to be returned to his natural Rainforest? Nikki Buxton believes his exposure at Harvest Caye would require him to be rehabilitated all over again. BBR is willing to do that, as that was always their mission.

PHS affirms that Big Red must be removed from Harvest Caye, rehabilitated, and given his freedom.
Make your voice heard! Stand up for Big Red:

  • By calling Forest Department at 822-2079 or emailing them at
  • By calling Prime Minister Dean Barrow at 822-2346 or emailing him at
  • By calling the Minister of Tourism at 227-2801 or emailing him at
  • By calling Belize Audubon Society at 223-4987 or emailing them at
  • By calling Wildlife Conservation Society at 223-3005 or emailing them at
  • By emailing Belize Zoo at
  • Write letters to the Amandala newspaper at
  • Or to the Reporter newspaper at

PHS hopes public sentiment will reach these authorities, and give Big Red the humane life that he deserves.

Placencia Lobster Fest

Will PHS be at this weekend’s Placencia Lobsterfest? Are you kidding? We wouldn’t miss it for the world! Check out our booth right near the big tent on the beach, from 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday. Providing you not only our one of a kind merchandise, but time to CUDDLE THE KITTIES! Yep, you loved it so much at the Arts Festival, a new batch of little guys wait for your gentle touch. Feel stress evaporate from your every pore!

Lobsterfest - Cuddle a kitten
Lobsterfest – Cuddle a kitten!
These cuties will be waiting for you!

The Placencia Humane Society is a community-based organization, and our members are critical to our success.

Being a member of PHS shows your support for PHS and the work that it does on the Placencia Peninsula and in surrounding communities.

Membership has concrete benefits, too.  Our membership categories and associated benefits are as follows:

  • Individual, Family ($25, $50 annually):  membership card
  • Benefactor ($100 annually):  membership card; 10% discount on PHS merchandise on presentation of membership card
  • Bronze ($250 annually):  membership card; 10% discount on PHS merchandise on presentation of membership card; Bronze goody bag
  • Silver ($500 annually):  membership card; 20% discount on PHS merchandise on presentation of membership card; Silver goody bag
  • Gold ($1,000 annually):  membership card; 25% discount on PHS merchandise on presentation of membership card; Gold goody bag

PHS also has a business membership and those categories are:

  • Business Sponsor ($250 annually):  certificate to display at your place of business and an active link from the membership page of the PHS Website
  • Business Patron ($500 annually): display certificate; active link from the membership page of the PHS Website; eligibility for PHS’ annual Cat’s Meow awards; feature post on PHS’ Facebook page
  • Business Benefactor ($1000 annually): display certificate; active link from the membership and home pages of PHS’ Website; eligibility for PHS’s annual Cat’s Meow awards; feature post on PHS’ Facebook page; one month’s sponsorship of PHS’ Facebook page with name and logo featured.


See you there!

May clinic – Success is sweet!

How does PHS provide quality vet care at its monthly clinics for so many pets in our community?
Why do they do it?
See for yourself in these photos the dignity each pet possesses, captured by Hilary Wilcher. Our volunteers acknowledge this spirit and consider each pet a living creature deserving of loving, compassionate care.

This weekend’s clinic would have been impossible without these folks giving their time to care for your pets: Britnee Fernandez, Sam Fernandez, Gil Rotstein (who volunteered for BOTH days!), Kim Edwards, Melanie Wilcher, David Kafka, Patricia Celenza, Idaly Wilcher, Maya Bowen, Ezekiel Choc, Karissa Rhamdas, Judy Roberts, Kitty Burgh, Becky Keeling, Kenny, and Robin (a vet tech from Boston) and Alex, visiting here on their honeymoon!
Working alongside Doctor Orlando Baptist (who is the only person paid), this is what they accomplished:

  • Friday Seine Bight Outreach Program treated
    • 31 pets– 21 of them were spayed/neutered.
    • 10 pets were also seen on that day: 6 of them spayed/neutered.
  • Saturday clinic
    • 22 pets, with 1 spay.

Adding that up: 53 pets were provided veterinary care during the weekend clinic—28 of these pets were spayed/neutered.
Total cost of May PHS clinic was BZ $4,100.00.

Joining the PHS team this month were the Green Parrot Resort in Maya Beach, hosting the vet and his two support staff, and of course, Turtle Inn, for providing their yummy pizzas to the Friday volunteers.
Thank you to all these good folks, and to all who support PHS in whatever way you can.

Read Brittnee R Fernandez’s Seine Bight Outreach Program’s adventures in her latest blog. She sure has it right!