In our little town word about something exciting spreads faster than wildfire and that’s exactly what happened on Thursday, December 19, 2013, as the news that a wildcat was seen crossing the street and running into the bushes in the south side of town quickly got residents panicking. Tonight, the Belize Forestry Department urges residents to be vigilant of such a wild animal.
Mountain lions are also called cougars, panthers, catamounts, and in Belize pumas and that is what a resident spotted crossing the street on Coconut Drive early this morning. Residents in the area claim that their live stock such as chickens and rabbits have become prey for the mighty cougar. Local authorities including the San Pedro Town Council and the San Pedro Police Department were informed about the situation and personnel from the Belize Forestry Department and Belize Wildlife Referral Clinic came to the island to assist in capturing the wildcat.
A search of the area was conducted but to no avail. The puma is a solitary, crepuscular species of feline which has the largest range for a large wild terrestrial mammal in the western hemisphere; Pumas eat familiar and easily found prey such as: wild hogs, raccoons, rabbits, porcupines, birds, rodents, and insects. Attacks on domestic livestock are rare, as most pumas are afraid of human presence and prefer to remain in safe resting places under undergrowth and cover near water sources. If held in captivity, these pumas can become aggressive and once out in the wild they are more prone to attack humans. It is illegal to keep these animals in captivity.
Residents are being asked to be cautious as these animals are nocturnal and hunt for their prey during the night. The Forestry Department urges residents not to attempt to capture or kill the animal, but to report any sighting of the animal so that they can dispatch personnel to attempt to capture it. Food and traps were laid out today in hopes of capturing the puma and the Forestry personnel will be on the hunt tonight and in days to come, if needed.
Eye witnesses describe the puma as having brown fur and as large as five feet long. It was last seen running into the bushes across from the entrance of Caribbean Villas into the San Marcos neighborhood, south of San Pedro Town. If one sees the puma in their area they are being asked to contact the proper authorities immediately so that the animal can be captured.
Please call the Belize Forestry Department at 822-1524 and email is [email protected]
Or the San Pedro Police Department at 206-2022 and San Pedro Town Council 226-2198.
Wildlife Advice Hotline is available 7 days a week toll-free (0800)-822-8888
Officals hunt for wild puma in the San Marcos Neighborhood south of San Pedro Town
Even San Pedro Mayor, Daniel Guerrero, joins the hunt for the puma