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Panama Parties at 11 years old!


Panama the Harpy Eagle was very curious.  Why was there a 6 foot tall version of him, leading large groups of students to his enclosure, while singing a song about him?  With his super acute hearing, Panama heard balloons popping and students laughing, as they played games and jumped in a “Finding Nemo” bouncy castle.


Yes, much fun was going on just yards away from Panama’s enclosure, in the Belize Zoo parking lot. The glowing occasion?  Panama’s birthday, of course!

Harpy Eagles are the largest and most powerful raptors in the Americas.  With their large wingspan, huge talons, and very imposing feather crest, they are a magnificent sight. The Belize Zoo is fortunate enough to have TWO harpy eagles calling the Zoo their home. Panama, our male, has served as an amazing ambassador on behalf of his rare species, for many years.  His birthdays bring joy to the hearts of many.  Countless students have celebrated this special day with him.  They have learned how very important the Harpy eagle is, and how they serve a vital ecological purpose in our forests.

Hattieville and Cotton Tree Primary Schools received an outreach visit from the TBZ Education team before the big birthday.  So, when they came to the birthday celebration, they were very “raptor ready” Over 150 students and teachers from both schools entered the birthday party as “verified eagle experts” They knew important facts about Harpy eagles, and also, Panama’s birthday song by heart. This so impressed TBZ Founding Director Sharon Matola that she pulled out her guitar and led them in a hearty rendition of the song.  To add to the excitement, six foot tall “Hope” the Harpy eagle mascot made an appearance.  

But, wait a minute! Harpies aren’t the only important raptor in this town! Happy the Barn Owl also made an appearance.  As students lined up to give his beak a friendly scratch, they were reminded that Barn Owls eat more rats and mice than any other animal on the planet.

It was an action packed day full of learning, fun…and food! TBZ was proud to share the birthday of our very special bird with some very special students. Happy Birthday, Panama!



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