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Our Savanna is a Wild and Wonderful Place!

The “Best Little Zoo in the World” is located in one of the most interesting ecosystems in Belize.  The tropical savanna.   Driving past the savanna, easily seen from the Western Highway, it appears vast and never-ending.  Not so!  Only about ten percent of the Belizean landscape makes up this special  type of terra-firma.  And is it ever important!

Our Caribbean pine tree, so valuable for building projects, calls the savanna home.  Oak trees, too.    The acorns from the mighty oak are a vital food resource for so many birds and mammals.   Other trees flourish in the savanna lands, providing vital foods for our local birds, including the beloved and endangered Yellow Headed parrot.    Migratory birds who visit us in the cooler parts of the year, after flying over 1,000 miles to reach Belize, will happily “re-fuel” , eating the fruits from the many savanna trees.   Birds are not the only food-seekers in the savanna.    Our handsome National Animal, the Central American tapir, finds lots of available meals here.   Jaguars, too, roam through our savanna lands.   Savanna residents also include deer, peccary, armadillo and pacas.

Taking into consideration the importance of this interesting and appealing landscape, The Belize Zoo, with the unmatched expert assistance of long-time-Belize researcher, Dr. Betsy Mallory, has developed a basic trail system, which intertwines through the savanna landscape.     Hawks are frequently viewed overhead.  Acorn woodpeckers, having an on going-love affair with the oak trees of the savanna lands, are a common sight. There are quite a few plants in the savanna that occur there and  NO WHERE else!!  An example of this is the silver thatch palm,  Schippia concolour.   So attractive, and a keystone “signature tree” of the savanna lands,  this tree will not be found growing  in any other habitat other than  the Belizean savanna.

Because there are seasonal ponds within our savanna lands, these areas become visited regularly by the much-adored Jabiru stork.    Providing a place where fishes swim and breed, the savanna ponds become stop-in- fast food restaurants for many of our local Jabiru .    Remember!  The Jabiru is one of the rarest birds found in Central America.   Keeping them healthy, happy Belizean residents means keeping our savanna lands thriving, too.

Walking the well-maintained trails which wind through our savanna habitat is simply a fun thing to do.   The  Savanna Trail system, located  just across the Western Highway from The Belize Zoo, provides an interesting view of an intriguing environment.   Different.  Fun.  And Educational.  Take a walk on the Wild Side and wander through our savanna trails soon!

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