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Wonderful Warree News!


Zoo staff has been waiting to see our white lipped peccaries (warrees), have young ones for ages… and ages.  Finally, and very recently, a baby warree has been added to our troop! Sure took us all by surprise, but then, most things that happen at The Best Little Zoo in the World do that. The baby has successfully become a “member of good standing” in the noisy and smelly troop.  He or she follows mom peccary closely, and the others stand guard over the little warree, which is similar to the behavior that would be expressed in the wild.

The adult warrees are very dark in colour.  Babies are brownish-red and do not have a pronounced amount of white around the mouth.  All at the zoo are ultra excited about our new arrival.  Warrees are becoming extremely rare in Belize.  Over-hunting and habitat destruction are causing a serious decline in their populations.  In the wild, they will travel long distances in search of food and comfortable sleeping grounds.  Like their relatives, the collared peccary, warrees root thru the forest floor in search of fallen fruits, nuts, and also, any insect or reptile is a welcome item on the warree dinner menu, too.

Their troops can reach a size of over 300!  Imagine meeting 300 warrees while on a jungle walk.  Many tales exist about their aggressive nature when come upon in the forest.  However, warrees, like most wildlife, prefer to avoid we two-legged species.  They may clack their teeth and loudly grunt, but exiting far away from a person in their forest space, is part of a warree course of action.  The aroma from a warree is usually noted before a sighting of this bristle-coated animal. On their lower back is a gland;  this gland releases a musk odor.  They rub this on themselves as well as on things in their territory such as logs and trees.  By doing this “smell strategy” a troop of warrees can follow each other by smell.   Warrees do not have good vision.  Communicating by smell is their tactic for keeping the entire troop united.  

Warrees live from southern Mexico down into Northern Argentina.  However, they are known to be extinct in parts of their range.  In Belize, we really need to work to protect what remains of our warree populations.  Besides being important dispersers of seeds, which contribute to a healthy regeneration of our forests, warrees are a vital dinner item for the magnificent jaguar.  Protecting habitat, regulating hunting, and understanding the important role that warrees play in the structure and function of our ecosystems, is key to their survival into the future.  The warree may not smell so nice, but their presence in Belize is unique, nice, and warree-wonderful!

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