Screen_Shot_2016-04-18_at_8.20.35_PMOver the weekend we received a report concerning a Baird’s tapir that was knocked down on miles eighty nine and ninety on the Philip Goldson Highway. Due to the fact that the tapir is considered as Belize’s national animal, it raised many concerns and raging feedback from many Belizeans as the animal was found near some bushes partially mutilated. When we spoke earlier this evening with the Wildlife Program Officer from the Belize Forest Department, he told us about the incident.

Edgar Correa – Wildlife Program Officer, Forestry

“Yesterday morning I received a message through and informed me that a tapir was knocked down close to the border immediately I contacted our partners at the zoo to see if they can assist us in the removal, nevertheless, due to the area  the zoo was able to reach here but in the evening and by the time the zoo member arrived by the location and the tapir was within the area which seems to have been slaughtered meaning that someone on the area by the vicinity removed the four leg from the tapir.”

And while there is no act that permits individuals to be reprimanded for causing an accident such as this one, those who deliberately cause harm to the animal can face a number of penalties for the offense committed.

Edgar Correa – Wildlife Program Officer, Forestry

“We’re still investigating and recording statements from the community, the reason is that accident does occur and with wildlife coalitions and road accident you know, in our Acts we don’t have anything in place to held no one accountable to accidents like that nevertheless any wildlife or any endangered species that they can go up to six months in imprisonment or a fee of a thousand dollars or both depending in the incident this is how we bring across the charges.”

Since the national animal is now classified as an endangered species, Edgar Correa, Wildlife Program Officer at the Forestry Department, stated that we must do everything in our power to protect them from becoming extinct.

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