What Do You Get a Harpy Eagle for His Birthday? A Party at the Belize Zoo

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.

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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.

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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.

Sam_EagleHere’s a real picture that I took yesterday.

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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.

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There were games set up…

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And a bouncy house…

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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”.

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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.

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Here’s a bit of her story.

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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.)

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And did a little jig as the kids sang.

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Not easy to do.

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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.

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And dipping his head so you can stroke his beak.  Am I lucky OR WHAT?

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He’s the subject of a really beautiful book – life according to Happy.

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And after he met the children…take a look at his carrying case.  Sharon and Happy.

IMG_4323I just absolutely ADORE the zoo and the staff…here are some more pictures of my day.

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The kids were REALLY interested.  Super cute.

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Indy the tapir?  Not all that excited.

IMG_4280 IMG_4281 HANDSOME Junior Buddy was thinking “meh”.  Or maybe that’s his “a tapir would be very tasty right now” face.

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This zoo sign just says it all.  Look at these AMAZING animals…surreally gorgeous animals that live right here in our country.

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And all we need to do – is to do our very best to protect them.





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  • Lovely, lovely post! Even though I never made it to the zoo, through your posts I feel like I have. LOVE all the animals, Sharon, the birthday party, all of it. Thanks for sharing!

    • Belize Blog

      I can go to the zoo every day I think…in fact, I went twice yesterday – day AND night. It’s amazing.