ASR Group partners with Belize Zoo and Palm Beach Zoo to promote biodiversity and jaguar conservation

With the help of an iconic jaguar named Ben, ASR Group is excited to join the Belize Zoo and the Palm Beach Zoo to announce a groundbreaking collaboration to promote biodiversity, conservation and sustainability.

This partnership, initiated by Luis Fernandez, Executive Vice President & CFO of Florida Crystals and President of ASR Group, supports jaguar preservation by providing the Belize Zoo with additional support and connecting it with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The cooperation will help bolster existing initiatives, particularly in the Maya Forest Corridor, to preserve wildlife tracts used by jaguars and other animals to move freely through the country by mitigating the threats of highways and human interaction.

The collaboration highlights keystone species like jaguars in Belize and the Florida Panther to emphasize the challenges these animals face and the importance of conservation efforts to protect them and their habitats.

In Belize, where we source raw sugar from for our Thames Refinery, ASR Group has adopted Ben the jaguar, a resilient jaguar who once dominated the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary and is now a resident of the Belize Zoo, where he is an ambassador for his species. Ben’s survival is a true testament to the collective importance of protected areas, biological corridors and the Belize Zoo.


The partnership complements our Northern Sugar Industry Biodiversity Commitment that was launched by our supplier BSI in commemoration of Earth Day 2024.

“We have developed training manuals for cane farmers on the best ways to respect biodiversity while prioritizing regenerative agriculture practices that will protect ecosystems where these wonderful animals thrive” Mac McLachlan, Belize Sugar Industries (BSI) Country Manager.

The commitment is multipronged and includes:

  • The conservation of 3,100 acres of land—identified as a riparian wetland that provides pivotal ecosystem services —in the Corozal District of Belize.
  • The publication of a sustainable cane farming manual entitled “Growing Sugarcane around Protected areas and Biological corridors (Harmonizing agriculture with nature),” which highlights the shared natural resources needed for both agriculture and nature.
  • The promotion of environmental literacy with educational programs for farmers and their children through training and field trips, which emphasizes jaguar protection and promotes human, animal and planetary health.
  • Equipping and expanding the University of Belize’s National Soil Testing Laboratory in Belmopan to increase access for all farmers to the highest quality services to make critical decisions about their farms based on sound and accurate information.