The Rainforests of Belize
More than half of Belize’s mainland consists of dense tropical rainforests, much of it explored. A sizeable percentage of the rainforests of Belize are under government protection in the form of a national park, wilderness sanctuary, or animal refuge.
The rainforests of Belize are highly diverse ecosystems home to a wide range of plant, bird, and animal species. Indigenous wildlife in Belize includes five species of big cats (including jaguars, the sacred animal of the ancient Maya), armadillos, tapirs, monkeys, and crocodiles. In addition, more than 4000 species of tropical flowers are found in the rainforests of Belize, including more than 250 types of orchids.
More than 500 species of birds have been recorded in Belize, including keel-billed toucans, endangered jabiru storks (the largest flying bird in the western hemisphere), tiny hummingbirds, enormous harpy eagles, and a kaleidoscope of brightly colored birds like parrots, egrets, woodpeckers, herons, hawks, and warblers.
Rainforests can be found in all six of Belize’s districts, but the southernmost district of Toledo is home to one of the largest sections of pristine rainforest in the country. Toledo District has more than 1,700 square miles (4,400 square km) of rainforest, mountains, and pristine rivers.