A resident of North Ambergris Caye, reported having spotted a jaguar in the Mata Grande area, 4.5 miles of the Boca del Rio Bridge around 2a.m. on July 26, 2016, while he was driving home. The resident said that he almost ran over the 4-5 foot animal, slamming on the breaks to avoid it.
It is not the first time that a wild cat has spotted in San Pedro Town; the last sighting was in late December 2013, when a puma was seen roaming south of downtown San Pedro. Officials from the mainland were called to the island by Mayor Daniel Guerrero in hopes of catching the animal and protecting the island’s residents.
Residents up north are asked to keep an eye out for the wild animal and take some precautionary measures. The public is encouraged to report sightings such as this one to the Belize Wildlife Conservation Network (BWCN) by calling their Wildlife Advice Hotline for advice and assistance. The BWCN asks for people to only report personal sighting, not what you hear from a neighbor or friend; second hand information is not useful to them as authorities need accurate information in order to take solid action.
BWCN needs photographs of the cat, CCTV footage, photographs of tracks and personal eye witness accounts. You can make these reports by emailing the BWCN at [email protected], texting BWCN on 605-8888 or by calling the BTL toll-free wildlife advice hotline on 0800-822-8888 or 822-8888 (for Smart customers). You can also contact the Forest Department during normal working hours on 822-1524.
The BWCN reminds the public that there may not always be an immediate response to reports, but all reports are taken seriously
Many people are not aware that Ambergris Caye has a 12,000 acre wildlife reserve on the northern tip, which is part of Bacalar Chico. There is a lot of wildlife there including jaguar, puma and other wild cats. As development on the north of the island spreads, sightings will become more common and large wildlife may appear in residential areas more often, so it is important that the community works hand in hand with BWCN and the Forest Department to and to keep everyone safe, while preserving our precious wildlife for generations to come.