We are very pleased to be announcing our newest Giving Back Campaign to help our friends at the Belize Zoo prepare animal habitats for the upcoming hurricane season. According to Jamal Andrewin-Bohn, the Conservation Program Manager at the Zoo:
Prior to last year’s hurricane season, our management team did a tour of the entire Zoo to assess needs and vulnerabilities with respect to tropical storms. We went path by path, and exhibit by exhibit to identify these, and, of course, the list was rather extensive. Our Animal Care & Management and Grounds/Maintenance departments have done a great job of improvising and addressing urgent priorities with limited resources, especially in the peak of the pandemic, but there are several gaps that require proper funds and materials to address
The exhibit for Tambo the tapir is one of those. While his actual exhibit is great, a storm-proof holding area is lacking. This concrete structure would help the Zookeepers with general management of Tambo and the upkeep of his exhibit, but also be a space where he can safely rest and eat during the passing of any major storm. June is off to a surprisingly dry start for the “rainy season,” but an active hurricane season has already been predicted for 2021, so we are trying to prepare once again.
We have therefore decided to start a campaign to help the Zoo with those goals. Our goal is the provide matching funds to private and corporate donations to help rebuild the Tambor’s habitats.
Learn More About the Tapirs of Belize
Before we get into those details, we realize that you may be wondering what a tapir is!
Upon first glance, tapirs are often mistaken for a small hippo, pig, or anteater. However, their closest living relatives are actually horses and rhinos. Many scientists consider tapirs living fossils because they have roamed the Earth for over 50 million years and haven’t evolved much. The four living species of tapirs range across the forests of Central and South America as well as Southeast Asia.
One of the most distinguishable features of a tapir is its prehensile nose. When foraging for food they will use it to grab and pull leaves from branches. They can also use it as a snorkel when swimming. Their body is covered with a tough and durable hide which offers them some protection from predators. The four toes on their front feet and three on the back provide them with traction as they maneuver through their forest habitat.
Here are some of our encounters with tapirs from our recent virtual tours of the Belize Zoo!
Want to learn more about the Zoo’s tapir conservation efforts? Then check out the interview below with Jamal Andrewin-Bohn, the Conservation Program Manager at the Belize Zoo.
What are We Doing at IE?
To help the tapirs at the Belize Zoo, we have committed up to $3,000 US in matching funds to support the Tapir Conservation Project. So, for every donation that is made to support the tapirs this summer, we will match it 1 for 1!
But here is where it gets interesting! Due to the exchange rate between the United States and Belize, every US dollar is equal to 2 dollars in Belize. So if you make a $25 contribution, it is the same as donating $100 in local currency.
And that money will go a long way to support this program. In this campaign, with your support, we should be able to build shelters for two of the tapirs in the Belize Zoo – Tambo and Marchismo!
How Can You Help?
The easiest way to help the Zoo with its efforts is to use make a general donation to the Zoo using the link below. Please indicate Tapir Conservation Project on the form. Options are available for both direct and charitable contributions.
General Donations to the Zoo – donations of any amount.
If you are feeling motivated, it is also possible to adopt a tapir! The link below will take you to the animal adoption page.
Animal Adoption at the Belize Zoo – become a sponsor of a tapir!
Inspire EdVentures also has a charitable fund through ImpactAssets.org called the Inspire Me Fund. If you are an individual or organization that would like to learn more about this opportunity, please email Michael Windelspecht at email@example.com for more information.
Thank you, in advance, for your help supporting the staff of the Belize Zoo in their efforts to conserve and protect these amazing animals.