National Tapir Day and Fuego’s Fabulous First!
National Tapir Day has truly become the greatest event on the Zoo’s calendar. Every April the Zoo crew is in a high energy state preparing to host students, teachers and special friends from different parts of Belize to celebrate our beloved national animal, the ”Mountain Cow.” April 27th is officially Tapir Day worldwide, and, even though festivities were a little late at the Zoo this year, the excitement and fun was greater than ever!
The passing of April the Tapir last November was met with an outpouring of condolences and fond memories shared from thousands of fans all over the country, and the world! After 30 years as Belize’s most famous “animal ambassador,”April will never be forgotten, and her legacy is now carried on by a wonderful young tapir named “Fuego.”
Fuego was brought to the Zoo in May 2013 after being separated from his mom in a forest fire. Little orphaned Fuego grew up quickly, and showed a tapir tenderness that made him a perfect “meet and greet” animal for Zoo visitors. As luck would have it, Fuego was also born in April, like his famous predecessor. It was obvious to all that he should take up the mantle as chief tapir in Tapir Town.
Word was sent out about preparations to celebrate Fuego’s first birthday, and over 250 party guests showed up to help us celebrate such a special day. Schools from BeIize City in the East, to Benque Viejo in the West, way down to Toledo in the south were all in attendance for Fuego’s fiesta. Panerrifix Steel Band from Belmopan added musical melody to the day, and TBZ Director Sharon Matola lead the entire crowd in an enthusiastic sing-along of the “Mountain Cow song.”
Students were kept busy with refreshments and clever tapir games, while, group by group, guests got a chance to meet the birthday boy in person while he munched away on his birthday cake made of all the things young, growing tapirs love to eat!
TBZ thanks all our wonderful guests that made National Tapir Day extra special this year. We look forward to another 30 years of magical mountain cow events like these.