The Belize Zoo celebrates birthdays for the ambassador animals – the animals that are used to showcase the beauty and the importance of conservation in Belize. Earlier this year, I celebrated handsome Fuego the Tapir’s first birthday and it was…awesome. One of the highlights of my year.
Yesterday I was invited to Panama the Harpy Eagle’s party. Trust me…all the animals were excited for the party. Look at Brutus the croc yesterday. Giddy.
Harpy eagles are almost surreal birds – the largest raptors in the world with 6 foot wing spans, huge talons, an apex predator and just…gorgeous. And almost impossible to imagine in the wild.
Here is the very best picture of them I can find of them.
But allow me to back up at bit. My friend and I took the bus out to the zoo (and what a GORGEOUS day) for the 10am party. Two schools were there and you could feel the excitement – one school from Hattieville and one from Cotton Tree, Belize.
There were games set up…
And a bouncy house…
Here is one of the very best parts of the party. Animal parties at the Belize Zoo OBVIOUSLY need a song. And this one, for Panama, is written to the tune of Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog”.
And here’s a little look at the kids singing to him.
Now try to get that song out of your head!
Panama’s a harpy eagle…
The media was there interviewing a true Belize star – Sharon Matola, the founder of the Belize Zoo.
Here’s a bit of her story.
And then a surprise for the kids! Jamal dressed up in a seriously professional looking harpy eagle costume. (He would give us a NIGHT TOUR later…but I’ll tell you about that later.)
And did a little jig as the kids sang.
Not easy to do.
I snuck inside with Sharon to meet another star of the day. Happy the Beautiful Barn owl.
Look at the lovely LOVELY heart shaped face. And he is so incredibly gentle.
And dipping his head so you can stroke his beak. Am I lucky OR WHAT?
He’s the subject of a really beautiful book – life according to Happy.
And after he met the children…take a look at his carrying case. Sharon and Happy.
The kids were REALLY interested. Super cute.
Indy the tapir? Not all that excited.
This zoo sign just says it all. Look at these AMAZING animals…surreally gorgeous animals that live right here in our country.
And all we need to do – is to do our very best to protect them.