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Dr. Frank Mozzotti

 

Dr. Frank Mazzotti is an associate professor at the University of Florida Ft. Lauderdale Research and Education Center, a branch of UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.  He has over 30 years experience researching and teaching issues relating to the ecology of South Florida. His work with FAVACA spans four years and has been exclusively in Belize.  In 2001 Frank first consulted with the Ministry of Natural Resources, Forestry Department in how to deal with crocodile management issues caused by increasing human-crocodile "interactions".   Belize is home to two species of crocodiles, both are endangered.  Mazzotti introduced Global Positioning Systems (GPS) technology for tracking crocs, involving 27 participants and a host of agencies in the project, including Belize Audubon Society, US Geological Survey, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Peace Corps.  Among the challenges he faced was dealing with crocodiles being held in captivity in a now defunct attraction.  Franks' current projects focus on developing long term, integrated research, monitoring, and education programs to support ecological conservation efforts in South Florida, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

 

Projects:

BELIZE FOREST DEPARTMENT TRAINED IN GPS FOR CROCODILE MANAGEMENT.  Marcelo Windsor, wildlife officer, Belize Forest Department, requested training in Global Positioning Systems (GPS) technology as a tool in crocodile management along with training in capture and handling of crocodiles.  Veteran volunteer Dr. Frank Mazzotti, Ft. Lauderdale, and first time volunteer and biological scientist Aletris Neils, Weston, conducted the training in August.  Thirteen officials were trained in the use of GPS and spatially referenced data for management of natural resources.  GPS has many applications in conservation work including delineating protected areas and tracking the crocodile population.  In addition to providing the training Mazzotti donated two GPS units and software to the department.  Along with this critical training the team followed up on crocodile management issues including dealing with crocodiles being held in captivity in a now defunct attraction and trained four Forest Officers in techniques for capturing and handling crocodiles.  This project was initiated as a result of an increase in incidents of human-crocodile interactions.  The team traveled to Belize August 1-10, 2004, and also consulted with Chief Forest Officer Osmany Salas on future needs of the department including similar work in jaguar conservation as a result of increased human - jaguar contact.   Future support will include assistance to the Forest Department in developing long term management plans for crocodiles and a research program on the population biology of Morelet's crocodiles was initiated in the New River Lagoon/Marsh ecosystem.

BELIZE CROCODILE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM BUILDS FOR THE FUTURE.  As follow-up to an initial visit in December 2001 and additional training in June 2002 Dr. Frank Mazzotti, Ft. Lauderdale, traveled to Belize March 23-30, 2003, to continue consultations with government officials on the development of a national crocodile management plan.  Mazzotti worked with Marcelo Windsor, wildlife officer, and Natalie Rosado, conservation officer, both with the Forestry Department in the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Environment and Industry.  Mazzotti also met with the owners of Lamanai Outpost Lodge and secured their in-kind support for the project.  Belize is home to two species of crocodiles, both are endangered.  The crocodile management plan is in response to an increase in human-crocodile interactions.  Mazzotti is an associate professor with the University of Florida Ft. Lauderdale Research and Education Center, a branch of UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

BELIZE CROCODILE SURVEY GETS BOOST FROM FLORIDA BIOLOGISTS. As follow-up to an initial visit in December 2001 Dr. Frank Mazzotti, Ft. Lauderdale, and a team of biologists traveled to Belize June 16-23, 2002, to provide guidance for a comprehensive crocodile survey and assist in the development of a national crocodile management plan. The team worked with Marcelo Windsor, wildlife officer for the Forestry Department in the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Environment and Industry and in collaboration with the Belize Audubon Society. Belize is home to two species of crocodiles, both are endangered. The crocodile management plan is in response to an increase in human-crocodile interactions. Mazzotti was accompanied by Mike Cherkiss, Key Largo, as a FAVA/CA volunteer. Laura Brandt, US Fish and Wildlife Service, participated with support from her agency. Mazzotti is an associate professor with the University of Florida Ft. Lauderdale Research and Education Center, a branch of UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Cherkiss is his assistant.

CROCODILES FOCUS OF WILDLIFE BIOLOGIST'S VISIT TO BELIZE. In response to a recent increase in fatal incidents involving crocodiles Nigeli Sosa director of the Belize Forestry Department requested assistance to confront the problem. Dr. Frank Mazzotti, Ft. Lauderdale, traveled to Belize December 2-9, 2001, to consult with government officials and other stakeholders on developing a comprehensive plan for crocodile management. Mazzotti laid the groundwork for a study of the crocodile population and provided hands on training for wildlife resource officers in dealing with nuisance crocodiles. Belize is home to two species of crocodiles, both are endangered. Mazzotti is an associate professor with the University of Florida Ft. Lauderdale Research and Education Center, a branch of UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. He has conducted similar studies and training in Mexico and Jamaica.

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