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Terrific Tapir Day! 


National Tapir Day has become the most important Zoo event of the year. Every April the Zoo crew is in a high energy state preparing to host students, teachers and special friends from different parts of Belize to celebrate our beloved national animal, the ”Mountain Cow.” This year, celebrations were held on April 29th, and what a celebration it was!

Over 200 guests turned up for Tapir Day. Britney Reyes, Shianti Acosta and Noah Beaumont were distinguished guests who had won a countrywide tapir slogan competition, and brought along their classmates and teachers from different parts of the country. The students shared their clever slogans with the crowd, then unveiled and crowned “Miss Belize,” the life sized paper mache tapir!

TBZ’s Operations Manager, Celso Poot, was the special guest speaker who reminded guests of the importance of tapirs as “forest gardeners.” Mr. Celso invited folks near and far to get involved in an exciting new program to find out where tapirs are throughout the country of Belize!

Mahogany Heights Dreams Marching Band added spectacular music to the day, and TBZ Director Sharon Matola lead the entire crowd in an enthusiastic sing-along of the “Mountain Cow song.” Of course, no TBZ celebration is complete without a birthday party. “Fuego” the tapir turned 2 years old this year, and was eager to accept his gifts: a fabulous birthday cake, and a chin scratch from adoring fans!

Fuego the tapir has taken up the mantle as “tapir ambassador” after the passing of April the tapir. Little orphaned Fuego was separated from his mother in a forest fire, but has grown up healthy and strong, and showed a tapir tenderness that makes him a perfect “meet and greet” animal for Zoo visitors. As luck would have it, Fuego was also born in April, like his famous predecessor! At 2 years old, he continues to teach visitors about the importance of preserving our forests, and preventing forest fires. His message is clear: No More Fuegos!

TBZ thanks all our wonderful guests that made National Tapir Day extra special this year. April the tapir would have been proud! Those interested in getting involved in the countrywide tapir monitoring program can call the Zoo at 822-8000, or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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