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More Information about Property '4GH805'

 
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Picture 13 of property '833'
50 Acres, $360,000 US ($720,000 BZ) Located in the Cayo District in the foothills of the Maya Mountains. Nearby towns are San Ignacio (13 km) and the countries capital: Belmopan (28 km).  Nearest villages are San Antonio (5 km) and El Progresso (1.5 km). Spanish Lookout, an important industrial and support centre lies 16 km to the north.  Belize City and the International Airport are at a distance of 100 km or a 2 hour drive.

The property is located in the foothills of the Maya Mountains at an elevation of 240 m (790 ft). It is administratively part of El Progresso village (±700 people) but lies approximately 1.5 km (1 ml) west from that village, the village of San Antonio (±2000 people) lies to the west at a distance of approximately 5 km (3.5 ml).

The property lies along the all-weather road from the Western Highway (in the north) to the famous Caracol Maya site (40 km – 27 ml) towards the south).  A feasibility study of the paving of this road started in 2016.

The hilly area is largely forested although several agricultural parcels are on the flatter terrain in the immediate vicinity.

Tourism is an important economic activity in the area. There are several eco-resorts in the area such as:

  • Mountain Equestrian Trails
  • Blancaneaux Lodge
  • Mariposa Jungle Lodge
  • Hidden Valley Inn
  • Gaia River Lodge
  • Mystic River Resort
  • Crystal Palace
  • Various small bed and breakfast enterprises

The Property is largely covered in forest, but the eastern section is a parkland landscape developed for the Butterfly Ranch itself the orchard, food-plant plantations and for residential purposes.

Residence

The main residence is a two storey cement building with a floor surface of 88.3 m² (950 sq ft). The building is positioned on the edge of a hill with a wonderful view of the valley

Construction

  • Built in 1994; Excellent state of maintenance
  • Concrete construction
  • Roof galvanized zinc (Galvulan), isolated with stone wool against heat transmission
  • Gutters on all sides
  • Hardwood floor in top level (Cabbage Bark,  2½ cm – 1” thick)
  • Mahogany doors
  • Mahogany cabinets, shelves
  • Tiled floor in lower level
  • Each level is 88.3 m² (950 sq ft) – total floor space is 176.6 m² (1,900 sq ft).
  • Both levels with 30 m² (320 sq ft) veranda
  • Lower floor with 24 m² (260 sq ft) awning
  • 1 Central living with open kitchen
  • 3 Bedrooms of which 2 are momentarily being used as office
  • 2 bathrooms with shower. Lower floor bathroom with space for bath-tub/jacuzi
  • 2 store rooms which can be converted to laundry room or other uses.
  • Rotoplas Biodigestores Septic system

Other buildings: Carport and storage

Carport large enough for 2 mid-size Pick-Up trucks. Connected with concrete storage room of 4,5 x 5,5 m (15’ x 18’)

The butterfly house has a flight area of 300 m² (3,300 sq ft.) and is the largest butterfly display in Belize. Over time, more than 100 native butterfly species have been reared by the staff, offering a lively and colourful display of beauty for both tourist and locals.

Butterfly Operations

This is an active butterfly breeding facility catering to the Belize Tourism industry. Visitors to the Butterfly House are part tourists that travel around using their own transportation and have heard about the butterfly house through guide books, internet and TripAdvisor. The numerous eco-lodges in the general area make up for the second half of the visitors.

From 1995 through 2002, this was also an active exporter of live butterfly pupae to various butterfly displays in the United States and to a lesser extent to Europe. Although the focus now is on tourism, the export business could easily be re-activated. The markets are still available.

20 years of breeding data for the most popular species.

Food plants caterpillars are collected from the entire 20 ha (50 acre) property, but about one hectare (2.5 acre) is a dedicated food plant plantation. A nursery with shade-cloth has been established for potted food plants. Caterpillar food plants grown include:

  • Adelia barbinervis
  • Alchornea latifolia
  • Aristolochia grandiflora
  • Aristolochia maxima
  • Blechum pyramidatum
  • Cecropia peltatum
  • Citrus chinensis
  • Tragia volubilis
  • Dalechampia scandens
  • Heliconia spp.
  • Musa spp.
  • Passiflora ambigua
  • Passiflora edulis
  • Passiflora foetida
  • Passiflora helleri
  • Passiflora lancetillensis
  • Passiflora pittieri
  • Passiflora seemanii
  • Piper jacquemontianum
  • Platymiscium dimorphandrum
  • Pterocarpus hayesi
  • Ruellia brittonia
  • Solanum nudum

Other buildings

  • Combined Visitor’s Centre/gift shop/Caterpillar rearing
  • General caterpillar rearing building
  • Owl butterfly caterpillar rearing building
  • Picnic building (for use by guests) accommodates 40 people.
  • Staff housing (2 buildings).
  • Guest House
  • Guest House/Storage building

Potential Expansion

  • Cabana’s
  • Restaurant
  • Coffee shop
  • Lectures
  • Butterfly Walks
  • Botanical Trail
  • Bird watching facilities

Birding

It is not just about butterflies and their food plants here. Biodiversity in general is considered a key component of our work.

More than two decades of managing the property for biological diversity, the results have been astonishing. Of course the hummingbirds take centre stage. Feeders located near the caterpillar building attract dozens of hummingbirds and sometimes really distract from the butterflies. It is not uncommon that these hummingbirds consume 7- 11 litres (2-3 gallon) per day! Until now we have recorded no less than 15 species, and it’s not uncommon to see 6-8 species during a single visit.

Since 2005 we have carried out our alternative Christmas Bird count (or "Year-End Bird count) which is being carried out under very strict conditions. The count lasts only 24 hours, is conducted by one observer only, and restricts itself to what can be seen or heard from the residence which translates to anything within a 100 m radius from the house. On average 70-90 species of birds are annually being recorded this way.

Overall we have recorded More than 310 species on the 50 acres (20 hectares) that we manage. Some of this incredible number includes obvious vagrants such as the odd Brown Pelican now and then, but the majority are more or less regular guests (such as in the case of North American Migrants) or residents. Others are more unique. The first confirmed record of the Great Potoo for Belize was in 2009 on this property.

Wildlife

The property is managed as a private protected area. This section provides all the background. Although surrounded by villages and farmland is surprisingly rich in wildlife. A program to record species using infra-red wildlife cameras has so far recorded the following species:

Black Howler-Monkeys also frequent, but being arboreal, they don’t get caught on the wildlife camera.

As for general wildlife, following species counts have been made for the property:

  • 430 Plant species
  • 265 Butterflies (Lepidoptera)
  • 43 Emperor moths (Lepidoptera: Saturniidae)
  • 73 Hawk Moths (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae)
  • 313 Bird species
  • 47 Reptile species
  • 35 Mammal species
  • 21 Amphibian species
  • 10 Snail species
  • 5 Tarantula species
  • 6 Stick Insects (Phasmidae)

Apart from records on the above organisms, specific research and monitoring activities include an alternative "End of Year" (Christmas) bird-count: List of bird species recorded around Christmas Day 2005 through 2015 around the veranda of the residence. Everything heard or seen from the veranda of the main house was counted. So far, 157 bird species have been recorded from this 3ha (7.5 acre) plot on this particular counting day. On average 70-90 species are identified on this day each year.

Orchard

In the 1ha (2.5 acre) large orchard, a large number of tropical fruit trees are cultivated. Among the most important ones:

  • Citrus: 6 varieties
  • Mango: 6 varieties
  • Bananas: 5 varieties
  • Avocado: 4 varieties
  • Sapodilla
  • Mammey Apple
  • Rose Apple
  • Malay Apple
  • Pejibaje
  • Cashew
  • Ackee

Cave

The Pempem Cave is located on the property (pempem is Yucatec Maya for “Butterfly”).

Surveyed and mapped in 2001. The cave is believed to be part of the Barton Creek Cave drainage system.

Passionflowers on the property

  • Passiflora ambigua         
  • Passiflora biflora              
  • Passiflora choconiana    
  • Passiflora seemanii        
  • Passiflora coriaceae       
  • Passiflora edulis                                
  • Passiflora foetida gossypifolia   
  • Passiflora foetida var.   
  • Passiflora guatemalensi
  • Passiflora helleri              
  • Passiflora lancetillensi   
  • Passiflora mayarum         
  • Passiflora pittieri             
  • Passiflora rovirosae        
  • Passiflora xiikzods

Silviculture

One hectare (10.7 acre) of the property is devoted to silviculture. In total 700 hardwood trees have been planted starting in 1994. The species planted include:

  • Mahogany Swietenia macrophylla
  • Cedar Cedrela odorata
  • Mylady Aspidosperma cruentum
  • Negrito Simarouba glauca
  • Salmwood Cordia alliodora
  • Bitterwood Vatairea lundelii
  • Cabbage Bark Lonchocarpus castilloi
  • Chicle Manilkara zapota
  • Bastard Mahogany Lysiloma acapulcense
  • Granadillo Platymiscium dimorpandrum
  • Teak Tectona grandis
  • Ziricote Cordia dodecandra

Silvicultural plantings

[pic to come]

Each dot is a planted hardwood

Electricity

From solar. Concrete building with 22 Solar panels on the roof capable of producing 12 kW/day. Inside of concrete building: 2 separate systems (for redundancy purposes, containing 2 charge controllers (Outback and MidNite) two Samlex inverters (24 – 110V) and 12x2 V Trojan L16RE deep-cycle batteries. Complete installation new in 2014. See images in section on solar related building.

Electric wiring in the residence was overhauled by a certified electrician in 2016.

Water

Residence equipped with ferro-concrete 42.000 litre (11,000 Gallon) rainwater vat + 4 rainwater vats totalling 15.000 litres (4,000 Gallon). Since 2005, Green Hills is also connected to the water mains of El Progresso Village. The rainwater storage is now principally being used as back-up.

Communications

  • Telephone: fixed phone through Belize Telemedia Limited.
  • Belize Telemedia Limited in the process of expanding services in the central Cayo District, including upgrading to 4G.
  • Mobile phone through SMART service
  • Internet through Belize Telemedia Limited.
  • Television: DirecTV

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