Casa del Caballo Blanco, LLC is home to Casa Avian Support Alliance, LLC, NGO (CASA) a Belize based non-profit facility for birds that have been treated for illness, injury, or recently released from illegal captivity, to rehabilitate and be released back into the wild. CASA is managed by Mr. Baldemir Ricky Manzanero, In-country Director. As a Belizean and recognized to be among the top birders in the country, Mr. Manzanero oversees the daily care and feeding of patients residing at CASA. With a volunteer staff Mr. Manzanero has helped to care for baby birds recovered following storm related damage related to Hurricane Dean, the care of injured owls and the ongoing and lifetime care of a red-lored parrot affectionately named Lored Captain Jack. Captain Jack is non-releasable due to an eye injury he suffered as a hatchling and has been named 1st Ambassador to CASA. CASA has also undertaken a habitat restoration program. 15 of the 23 acres of CDCB were dedicated to habitat restoration in 2005; a partial reforestation to encourage nesting and foraging of avi-fauna has been completed by staff and student interns from Sacred Heart Community College, San Ignacio. Habitat rebound is monitored through twice yearly visits by volunteer biologists from the
United States. As we approach the second full year of the growth cycle numerous species are returning to the area. Hence, the CASA/CDCB undertaking is a demonstration project that provides real time evidence that previously developed land can be returned to a natural state and that habitat replacement is a very real possibility.
The Casa Avian Support Alliance facilities, the habitat restoration achievements, and the re-use and re-cycle success during the construction phase of CDCB and CASA can all be found on-line at http://www.casaavian.org, Select the Quarterly Newsletter page and review the quarterly newsletters.The CDCB and CASA initiatives are privately funded by Jodi and Vance Bente of Petaluma, CA. The purchase of the property which was an abandoned ranchito and the subsequent planning and development of CDCB and CASA are approaching the end of year three planning cycle. The acquisition, planning and development relied on the fundamental tenants of recycle and reuse. Re-use and re-cycle are expressed in the conversion of pig-sties into principal structures for the ex-situ conservation facility, the donation of a tin roof and ceiling material to the Pentecostal church located in Cristo Rey, the use of 100% Belizean contractors and their crews from the local community, and extension of municipal water system from the main line approximately ½ mile to CDCB which provided the opportunity for local land and homeowners to have the benefit of the municipal water supply. The water pipe installation cost $17,000 usd and was paid for by the Bentes.To further the efforts of CDCB relative to sustainable tourism, we encourage our staff to identify local artisans. In this regard CDCB has established a strong on-going relationship with two sisters of Mayan descent located immediately adjacent to the site and has recently initiated a working agreement with Mayan craftsmen in the Peten in the vicinity of Tikal. The furnishings and textiles selected and or designed for CDCB are of local manufacture by resident craftspeople and or were procured in local market places. The decor of CDCB celebrates the Mayan and Hispanic heritage of Western Belize and adjacent Guatemala. In support of a local cottage industry, the grounds-staff of CDCB collect fallen dried palm fronds to be used as fuel in the curing of banana leaves. The cured banana leaves are used as wraps for bollos and tamales which are popular year round but particularly during the year end holiday season.CDCB provides La Sala (meeting room) on a complementary basis to like-minded NGOs and organizations for various functions, to include the Friends for Conservation and Development and The Cornerstone Foundation of San Ignacio, Belize.
In summary, CDCB as host to CASA provides the opportunity for visitors to Belize to practice volun-tourism at the local level. Building toys and ladders for the CASA patients, assisting with trail maintenance, tree planting and garden cultivation near the Tzunuun Trail are just a few ways that CDCB and CASA offer the opportunity and encourage individuals to act responsibly, sustainably, economically, resourcefully, and thoughtfully as they travel to sites around the world in search of and support of sustainability.
The bird sanctuary has been closed.