Culture

20 Beautiful National Animals From Latin America That Are Everything

Between the tropical rainforests of Costa Rica to the grasslands of Mexico, there are a slew of interesting animals creeping and crawling all over Latin America. The various ecosystems throughout the region are astonishing and beautiful. Here are just some of the magnificent creatures that have earned the title of National Animal. Essentially, they serve as the mascots for the country because, when chosen, people in the country believe those animals are the physical manifestation of what the country represents.
They all look so smug because they know they’re honorific, just roll with it.

1. Jaguar | Brazil

CREDIT: @bigcatskingdom / Instagram

Brazil’s national animal ranks on top. Here’s to hoping we never stare down those golden eyes, though.

2. Llama | Bolivia

CREDIT: dvillavicencio_photo / Instagram

The regal giraffe of Latin America is a guy I’d love to spend some one-on-one time with. Though I hear they spit on whoever they deem deserves it.

3. Keel-Billed Toucan | Belize

CREDIT: @uwehasubek / Instagram

Those beaks are a third the size of the whole bird, and even though their beaks look like a ball and chain to carry around, they’re actually made of spongey, hollow bone covered in keratin. Like Belizianos, you rarely see one of these birds alone.

4. Golden Eagle | Mexico

CREDIT: @chaboom1986 / Instagram

Mexico’s National Bird is the cute and fuzzy guy. He’s still a young one, but they grow to become one of the largest birds in North America and are known for their relatively small heads.

5. Vaquita | Mexico

CREDIT: “Only 12 Vaquita Porpoises Are Left in the Entire World” Digital Image. Lady Free Thinker. 25 May 2018.

Mexico’s National Marine Mammal is the peculiar porpoise, la vaquita. They’re found in the Northern Gulf of California and there are only 12 left in the world. Reason for imminent extinction? Fishing.

6. Grasshopper | Mexico

CREDIT: @sarahlovessucculents / Instagram

Of course Mexico has a national arthropod. Mexico is known for some of the most progressive laws to protect wildlife, including a ban on circuses that use wild animals. Plus, this grasshopper is clearly enjoying the spotlight.

7. Xoloitzcuintli | Mexico

CREDIT: @mishalukianovphotography / Instagram

Meet the ridiculously handsome National Dog of Mexico. They are almost completely hairless and are known for their big ears. Relics from tombs date the existence of this breed back to the Aztec, Mayan and Toltec Native Americans. Archeologists suspect that hairlessness in tropical Mexico had the evolutional advantage and so they prospered.

8. Cuban Trogon | Cuba

CREDIT: @kennydiazj / Instagram

You could spot this Cuban from a mile away. She’s bold, she’s high fashion and she wears red well. If you could see the backs of their feathers, you’d cry for the blue teal colors.

9. Pampas Fox | Paraguay

CREDIT: @fernandofariasphoto / Instagram

These guys like to live alone, but are pro-monogamy around breeding season. Plus, they eat literally everything: birds, rabbits, fruit, lizards, armadillos, snails, lambs, and insects.

Read: 20 Bizarre Animals You Can Only Find In Latin America

10. Southern Lapwig | Uruguay

CREDIT: @chikkurosaki21 / Instagram

Yo, this bird has been around since dinosaur times. They famously swarm soccer matches after the bright lights have attracted thousands of insects–they’re favorite.

Read: These Photos Of Celebs With Their Beautiful Fur Babies Will Melt Your Heart Because, Duh

11. Quetzal | Guatemala

CREDIT: @filipe_deandrade / Instagram

This ridiculously cute fluffer is, of course, Guatemala’s national animal. They’re savage, too. They go after frogs.

12.  West Indian Manatee | Costa Rica

CREDIT: @binggallery / Instagram

While Costa Rica is known for preserving its natural wildlife, its manatees are facing near extinction from erosion and pollution from the banana plantations. Recently, Costa Rica declared the manatee as their National Aquatic Animal.

Read: This Is Why Kate Del Castillo And Other Latino Celebs Are Boycotting SeaWorld

13. While-Tailed Deer | Costa Rica

CREDIT: @bleuphotographie / Instagram

Costa Rica’s National Animal (proper) is this cutie little Bambie. Fun fact: they have incredible eyesight and hearing and only the males grow antlers.

Read: 21 Animals You Should Be Following on Instagram (Beyond Cute Cats & Dogs)

14. White-Tailed Deer | Honduras

CREDIT: @timothy_weaver704 / Instagram

They grow up to be SO CUTE, like actual reindeer. No wonder Honduras went with the same National Animal as Costa Rica.

15. Coquí | Puerto Rico

CREDIT: @billlysantiago / Instagram

My third grade project on el coquí is finally coming full circle. Puerto Rico’s National Animal is this tiny frog that you can hear from the rainforests going, “coquí, coquí, coquí.”  They kind of define your nights in Puerto Rico, so might as well define the National Animal.

16. Andean Condor | Colombia

CREDIT: @timothyramond / Instagram

Meet the largest raptor in the world. They produce only one egg every two years, y todavía, they just lay the egg on a bare cliff edge. The parents make up for their questionable parenting liberties by incubating the egg together.

17. Harpy Eagle | Panama

CREDIT: @wild.jaw / Instagram

It’s talons are as large as bear’s claws and its legs can be as thick as a man’s wrist. He looks like he came straight from Jurassic Park and kind of terrifying if you think about one attacking you.

18. Vicuña | Peru

CREDIT: @panchetex / Instagram

I know what you’re thinking: that looks like a llama. While it is a “camelid”, it’s closest relative is the Alpaca. They’re tiny faces and sleek ears are much more chic than the scruffy look of the llama.

19. Bare-Throated Bellbird | Paraguay

CREDIT: @nvl_photo / Instagram

The National Bird of Paraguay is known for it’s white plumage and blue face, but here you’ll find the female bird. The poor girl has to endure its male counterpart’s loudest call of any bird. His call has been described as that of a hammer striking an anvil.

The sound can actually damage human hearing if they’re within range.

20. Baird’s Tapir | Belize

CREDIT: @naomouse70 / Instagram

We leave you with Belize’s National Animal, the tapir. More than one tapir together is called a candle. They live up to 30 years and are most closely related to horses and rhinos.

Some species’s noses are so long that they use them as a snorkel when they’re swimming.

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Someone Mutilated A Manatee With The Name ‘Trump’— Now There’s A Federal Investigation

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Someone Mutilated A Manatee With The Name ‘Trump’— Now There’s A Federal Investigation

Michael Wood/Stocktrek Images

Just when we thought Trump supporters couldn’t disgust us more, one disfigured a manatee by etching “Trump” into its back.

Sadly, over the weekend, a manatee was found in Florida’s Homosassa River with the name “Trump” scratched into its back. The discovery has prompted federal officials to open an investigation into the disfigurement of the threatened species.

A mutilated manatee was found over the weekend with the name Trump scratched into its back.

According to a report published by the Citrus County Chronicle, it is unclear when and how the manatee was mutilated. It is also unknown whether the current investigation has made any leads in regards to the perpetrators. Still, footage of the abused animal has sparked outrage online.

Douglas Nowacek, a professor of Conservation Technology at Duke University told Vice that the incident is “one of the most horrifying things I have ever seen done to a wild animal.” In a separate email, Ruth Carmichael, a Senior Marine Scientist at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and a Professor of Marine Sciences at the University of South Alabama described the act a “horrific” to VICE saying “I have no words to express how deeply troubling, thoughtless, and potentially cruel this is.” 

Marine biologists say that it is unclear just how much harm the mammal endured.

“It’s a little hard to see the extent of damage from the video,” Carmichael explained. “It is harassment regardless. If the scrape penetrates the skin, then it likely caused some pain and stress. The animals have nerves and sensory hairs in the skin. Additionally, open wounds could become infected.” 

According to Graham Worthy, Department Chair and Pegasus Professor at the University of Central Florida who spoke to VICE the letters could mostly be shallow, and may mostly be algae scraped off the animal’s back making“ injury would be virtually non-existent.”

Still, physically hurt or not, the manatee in question was clearly harassed by a person. As such the perpetrator could face severe penalties if found. 

“Violations of the Marine Mammal Protection Act may result in fines of up to $100,000 and one year’s imprisonment for individuals and up to $200,000 for organizations,” Worthy told Vice. “It is illegal to approach and make contact with these animals let alone deface or injure them. It is illegal to feed or harass wild marine mammals including dolphins, porpoises, whales, seals, sea lions, and manatees. You are not allowed to feed, swim with, or harass these marine animals… They should be observed from a distance of at least 50 yards.”

The mutilated manatee is a West Indian manatee and is a herbivorous mammal found in coastal areas of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. Up until 2017, the species was considered endangered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Today, conservation status is listed as “threatened.”  

As many users of social media have noted, perhaps one of the most disturbing aspects of the images that humans already cause so much pain and suffering to innocent animals. When does it stop?

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These Were The Moments That Defined Latin America In 2020 That Weren’t About COVID-19

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These Were The Moments That Defined Latin America In 2020 That Weren’t About COVID-19

PEDRO PARDO/AFP via Getty Images

2020 will easily go down in manny of our memories as the year that just wouldn’t stop. As the year started, it all seemed to be sort of fine as the world came together to battle record-breaking Australian bushfires and worked to hopefully contain an outbreak of a strange new virus in China.

However, as the year comes to a close things have gone de mal a peor for the world in general, but for the Latino population in the United States and Latin America as a region in particular. Though it’s hard to realize just how much we all witnessed and experienced since so much of what happened seems like it was a lifetime ago.

Here’s a look back at some the defining moments from 2020 across Latin America.

Jennifer Lopez and Shakira kicked off the year hopeful with a history-making performance at the Super Bowl.

Yes, believe it or not, this happened in 2020. The pair put on what many have called the best half time show in Super Bowl history. They were also joined by J Balvin and Bad Bunny.

Bolivia’s Evo Morales was forced into exile, only to return to the country in November.

After being forced into exile at the end of 2019 for attempting to illegally run in upcoming presidential elections, Morales spent a year abroad – first in Mexico and then in Argentina.

Mexico’s President AMLO made his first trip abroad to visit Donald Trump at the White House.

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is a staunch populist and has long said his primary focus is domestic policy within Mexico. Therefore, despite two years in office, AMLO hadn’t left Mexico once. So it came as a surprise when his first trip abroad was a visit to the U.S. leader who had long disparaged Mexico, the government, and Mexicans – not to mention his trip came in the middle of a global pandemic.

Migrant caravans continued to make their way towards the U.S. despite interference from Mexico and Covid-19.

Migrants attempting to make their way to the U.S. isn’t unique to 2020. For decades, migrants have long banded together for safety in numbers along the treacherous journey to the north. However, they became larger and better organized in 2020, perhaps owing to the new dangers of Mexican interference.

Mexico’s AMLO vowed to stop migrants from reaching the U.S.-Mexico border, adhering to Trump’s request. It was also noteworthy because the caravans continued despite the Covid-19 crisis, which has hit the region particularly hard.

Peru saw three presidents in the span of a few weeks after massive protests.

Peru is facing one of the greatest crises the nation has faced. Just as the country seemed to be emerging from the worst of its battle against the Covid-19 pandemic, the country has entered a severe political crisis.

The country’s elected president, Martin Vizcarra, was impeached and removed from office. His predecessor responded with a heavy hand to the protests that ensued resulting in his resignation less than 24 hours later. The government then had to find someone willing to take the job which proved to be a tough sell.

In fact, massive protests swept across Latin America.

From Mexico in the north to Cuba in the Caribbean and Chile in the south, protests were seen all across the region. Although each movement had it’s own stated goal and objectives, many were largely borne out of the same purpose: to fight back against corruption.

Brazil’s President Jaír Bolsonaro tested positive for Covid-19 but it did nothing to change his approach to the pandemic.

Jaír Bolsonaro has long been compared to Donald Trump, with many calling him the Donald Trump of South America. The two were also strongly aligned in their responses to the Coronavirus pandemic, with the pair largely downplaying the severity of the crisis.

Then, Bolsonaro became infected with the virus and many hoped it would change his view on the crisis. It didn’t.

A growing feminist movement developed in Mexico, demanding protection from a shocking rise in violence against women.

Mexico has long been battling endemic violence and the country has continued to see record-setting rates of homicides. But it was the growing rate of violence against women, particularly femicide, that gained national attention.

Women banded together and started large nationwide protests. Over the summer, women in the capital of Mexico City occupied government buildings and destroyed many of the city’s most popular monuments to hopefully get their message across. Although the movement has gained more recognition by Mexicans, the government has still failed to address their concerns. Let’s hope things are different in 2021.

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