Belize boasts an expansive array of flora and fauna. The national animal of Belize is the Tapir which resembles a cross between an elephant and a hippopotamus; the Flower of Belize is the exotic Black Orchid and the national bird is the colorful Keel-billed Toucan. Belize is also home to many endangered species such as the scarlet macaw, the three-toed sloth, the graceful manatee and the green turtle.
Belize's biodiversity is rich, both marine and terrestrial, with a multitude of flora and fauna. According to the most recent vegetation surveys, about sixty percent (60%) of Belize's land mass is still forested, with only about twenty percent (20%) of the arable land used for human benefit (i.e. agricultural land and human settlements). Most of the nation’s land is extensively covered by wetlands, savannas, and scrublands.
About thirty-seven percent (37%) of Belize's land territory is under some form of official protected status. Conservation activities remain an important priority in government policy with the noteworthy example of having the only jaguar reserve in the world and the only sanctuary for the Red-footed Booby bird among its many protected areas. Belize is perhaps best known for its marine environment, in particular, for having the longest living barrier reef in the western and northern hemisphere which is now a World Heritage Site.
Divers and sport fishermen flock to Belize to enjoy its underwater attractions like the famous Great Blue Hole and fish in the pristine waters. Belize is quickly becoming a mecca for travelers in quest of eco-tourism and adventure as a result of its plentiful cultural attractions, unique marine and terrestrial biodiversity, and conservation efforts.