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Tapir Offers Wild Introductions at the Belize Zoo

16 October 2008 5 Comments


Okay, so the reality is that we are in the rain forest. Even in the Belize Zoo, animals will be animals. :-) The Tapir is the National Animal of Belize and although you are welcome, sometimes our animals may have a wild way of greeting you.

Tapirs (pronounced /ˈteɪpɚ/, as in “taper”, or /təˈpɪər/, as “ta-pier”) are large browsing mammals, roughly pig-like in shape, with short, prehensile snouts. They inhabit jungle and forest regions of South America, Central America, and Southeast Asia. All four species of tapir are classified as endangered or vulnerable. Their closest relatives are the other odd-toed ungulates, including horses and rhinoceroses.

This means you still need to be on your toes just a bit when you visit our animals behind closed gates or even when you’re out on the trails, which is slightly more obvious. Even those animals that don’t necessarily look dangerous, might not necessarily make for the most pleasant encounter when you are dealing with them on their terms.

There’s nothing wrong with that though as we are here to help you savor this experience, the rain forest and all the creatures that live here. The zoo can be a nice place to start to help you get introduced, so to speak, with some of our ‘wilder’ representatives.

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