February 1st, 2014 by SXMZoo

by Tina E. Arents, Board Member/Secretary

Everybody knows the St. Maarten Zoo, right? Well, maybe not everybody, but most people do. The Zoo is located between the Salt Pond and Madame Estate, on Dominica Road corner Arch Road. It is the largest Zoological and Botanical Garden in the Caribbean.

If you like animals, nature and a place of quiet, the Zoo is certainly the place to visit on a regular basis. Here, kids can roam around and play on the largest playground of the island, where even an almost real life-size Pirates’ Ship can be found, ready for them to explore.

There is also a great gift shop, the Zootique, filled with cute animal toys and Caribbean souvenirs, maps, books and beautiful postcards to send to friends and family plus much more to choose from.

If you are thirsty there are even cold drinks and ice cream for sale and if you are a bit hungry there are snacks to make you feel better.

All in all a great place to spend time and teach kids about nature and animal life. Adults will learn a thing or two there also!

There are a total of over 300 mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates. Extremely rare species can be found here and most of them are indigenous to the Neotropics, which St. Maarten itself is also a part of.

Did you know that the Zoo is already 22 years old? It was opened on December 14, 1991 and between 1991 and 2001 it was managed by the Board of the Zoological and Botanical Garden Foundation. Money problems at that time made them look for external help in the form of a company that would be able to invest money for improvements and manage the Zoo at the same time. Unfortunately, in the end that did not work out too well.

Until the end of 2013, the Zoo was managed by an external management company that was located in the United States. This company managed the Zoo for a period of 12 years by contract, but, being located far away, their interest in the Zoo was less than minimal. This resulted in a huge financial debt for the Foundation that governs the Zoo and also in the fact that now, in the end, the Zoo looks very much run down, leaving the Foundation with really huge problems.

Nevertheless the Board of the Foundation realized that new beginnings are here; a big challenge of course and they decided that instead of using another management company they would start running the Zoo themselves again. Quite a challenge indeed, being a non-profit foundation and not a business, with non-professional ‘animal people’ in the Board, which consists solely of volunteers.

Understandably the Zoo is in need of a total face lift, costing a lot of money. With the help of sponsors and lots of volunteers the Board hopes to achieve their goal. If you feel this is a worthwhile cause and if you are able to sponsor the Zoo financially or as a volunteer, please contact the Zoo and let them know. You are really needed, as the upgrading is already in the beginning phase; all help is more than welcome and appreciated!

Fundraisings are a great tool to generate money and there were already two organized last year: Boo @ The Zoo (the Halloween party) and the annual Christmas Party for children, where Santa came in on a huge motorbike and lots of kids got presents. Just like at the Halloween party there was lots of food and drinks for sale. Once again next month, on Friday February 14 a romantic Valentine Party will be organized, so mark your calendar and come one and all to support the Zoo!

Birthday parties can be held at a very reasonable price and any day of the year the picnic tables can be used by visitors, also if they want to bring their own food and drinks.

Furthermore you can of course become a member – there are personal and family memberships available, as well as special group rates. Private tours can be organized by request.

All in all, the Zoo is a great place, not to be missed by young and old and in-between! The Zoo is open every day from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

January 13th, 2012 by SXMZoo

We have some beautiful red ibises at the Zoo.
The red ibis is also called the scarlet ibis.

The uniformly bright-red plumage of the Scarlet Ibis intensifies as the bird grows older.  As with flamingos, the brilliant red color of the bird comes from pigments in the bodies of crustaceans on which it feeds.
The young are first featherless, and then a dark brownish color, which slowly changes to the red of their parents as they age.

Recently our red ibises mated and produced two young. One survived and is growing very fast.
As you can see from the following pictures, now that he has grown somewhat he is starting to produce some of the red of his parents.

December 13th, 2011 by SXMZoo

On October 15, 2011 we had new cotton top tamarin babies born in the zoo. Cotton-top tamarins are an endangered species of primate found only in the tropical forests of Colombia.

December 13th, 2011 by SXMZoo

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the St. Maarten Zoo, the President of the Board, Rob Heil, has made the following statement:

December 14 marks the twentieth anniversary of the St.Maarten Zoo and its governing body, the St.Maarten Zoological and Botanical Garden Foundation.

The St. Maarten Zoo was opened by a group of dedicated volunteers in 1991. Since then it has braved many set-backs. All the major hurricanes and tropical storms that have battered the island have also caused substantial set-back and damage to the zoo and its operations.

Time and time again the community in the capacity of companies or individual volunteers have come to our assistance with donations in goods, money or time and have thus helped us to stay alive. It is to those companies and individuals that my congratulations on the occasion of this twentieth birthday go out. I would also like to congratulate our current and former members that have supported us throughout the years.

From the start we , as a board, realized that the existence of animals in captivity is under heavy criticism these days. We have therefore made it our policy to exhibit only animals that are captive born, which means we usually get the animals that are surplus in other zoo. This, combined with high shipping cost or simply no airlift from donating zoos, has restricted the variety of the collection.

We also assist the customs department in the housing of endangered species that have been confiscated in an attempt to import them illegally into St.Maarten.

We are proud to say that many school groups visit our zoo as part of educational trips. We strive to educate our local youngsters on the beauty and richness of nature, while at the same time taking part in preserving species throughout the world, that are on the brink of extinction.

For instance, our own ocelot is currently enrolled in a breeding program in the US while we exhibit ocelots that are non- breeding. We also successfully bred two bush dogs, another endangered species. The babies were sent to the St. Louis Zoo to take part in the breeding program there.
Another prime example is the four Cotton Top tamarins, of which there are only a few left in the wild. We have so far successfully bred three.

Therefore, although we are in constant need of volunteers, new board members and money, we proudly congratulate St. Maarten for helping keep the Zoo alive for twenty years!

Happy Birthday and Thank You for your continued support!!

Rob Heil
St. Maarten Zoological and Botanical Foundation

June 29th, 2011 by SXMZoo

Last night someone stole on our Common Marmoset.
If you see him, please let us know. Call the Zoo at 543-2030 or 588-0777

We want him back!

June 7th, 2011 by SXMZoo

The Zoo has  a new Red Ibis baby! So far he seems to be growing well.

Red Ibis and her baby

June 1st, 2011 by SXMZoo

Beautiful red ibis

Will we have babies?

On the prowl

Green Wing Macaw sitting pretty

May 16th, 2011 by SXMZoo

Yesterday the Zoo had  a busy day with their petting zoo and exhibit at Childfest 2011. The Zoo was glad they were able to participate in a  very nice children’s event on the island.Thanks to all who visited our table.

May 12th, 2011 by SXMZoo
To; All Media
From: St. Maarten Zoo

Press release
The St. Maarten Zoo received  a call Thursday morning  from a tourist who found a booby bird tangled in some fishing line in the Pelican area.
A representative from the Zoo was able to free the bird. The bird flew away before the extent of any injuries could be determined.
We  are aware that local St. Maarten dive companies, as well as Nature Foundation divers, recently cleaned  coral reefs of debris and garbage. Apparently items such as  fishing line, old anchors and plastic were collected..
Such debris obviously damages coral reefs and ,as evidenced from the incident  above, can cause injuries to birds who get caught up in it.
The Zoo is concerned about all wildlife on St. Maarten and urges island residents and visitors to please take care when discarding anything like fishing lines or plastic.
Barbara Cannegieter
PR Officer
St. Maarten Zoo

May 12th, 2011 by SXMZoo
The Zoo will be attending the Childfest Family Fun Day at Port de Plaisance on Sunday, May 15 from 10:00am – 7:00pm.
We will have a small petting zoo there for the children to enjoy.       Come on out and join us.