Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Besides farm animals we saw many animals and birds plus reptiles either in the wild or on our visit to the zoo. The zoo is rather special as all the animals are rescued, either from abandonment in the wild, traffic acidents, or confiscated from poachers intent on selling them as pets for off shore destinations. The animals live in enclosures within the jungle and have lots of room,as they are used to people they are easy to see and photograph. I learned jaguars come spotted and jet black as both were there,they were beutiful, and feet the size of dinner plates! The other critter that caught my attention was the Tapier or "mountain cow" , with its neat extendable noes and 3 toed feet. The tapier is the national animal of Belize and I'd love to have one in the back yard, kind of a pig cross cow, yet very friendly. Yes, I ignored the sign and leaned over to rub its nose and scratch its back, it knew I was a stockman. The Harpy eagle was a magnificent bird, 4ft tall with a 6ft wing span, and is becoming rare in Central America. Belize though with its many natural areas has become a safe haven for the birds and some are now being moved back to other countries to bolster their numbers.There is no shortage of crocodiles or iguanas with all the swamps and abundant rainfall. On walks by the river we saw many iguanas some reaching 5 to 6ft long, when scared they just fall from the tree into the river with an loud undignified bellyflop!