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Mar 16, 2015

Are Jaguars Preying on Livestock in Crooked Tree?

Livestock farmers in Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary have been losing their cattle, but it is not to rustlers. For some time now, farmers have lost thousands of dollars because jaguars have been on the prowl in the area. The issue is that the jaguar population is under protection by law, and the only reason to put a jaguar to sleep would be if the protect animal is old.  News Five’s Andrea Polanco was in the village and heard a plea for assistance.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

In the past few months, cattle owners and farmers in Crooked Tree have been losing livestock valued in the thousands of dollars. At least twenty farmers have pastures in the area where Jaguars have been raiding. Wayne Wade is one of those farmers, with eighty five heads of cattle at stake.

 

Wayne Wade, Farmer

“More than one jaguar. We have several jaguar weh di give problem dah back deh. Me, personally, myself, done lose six. I have friends who lose seven. Some lose two. One. Dah wah big problem we have dah back deh fi the last year and half, we have dah back deh check.”

 

Wayne Wade

Reporter

“So, tell us, money wise what exactly is the loss for you guys?”

 

Wayne Wade

“Me alone, weh I lose six in a year alone if I mi sell den deh I mi ah get ten thousand dollars off ah den deh right deh. Because each one ah deh value up to fifteen hundred dollars like weh mi neighbor just say just now. So, dah wah big loss fi the villagers deh weh di lose deh animal.   We have about nineteen to twenty one farmers dah back deh and I would ah say ninety percent of them have been affected already outta that. I would say only like three farmers back deh nuh get bothered or thing like that yet. But majority of the farmers weh deh back deh lose animal to the jaguar.”

 

And to avoid more losses, the farmers have tried to secure their livestock. But the fence around the pastures has not proven to be Jaguar proof.

 

Wayne Wade

“The only thing we could do dah fence fi we place. Tiger dah wah cat, so deh could climb over and all kinda thing deh could do check. They will get in. You can stop deh from that. They could climb tree. They will get inna yuh place. The people wah tell we that deh fence farm already fu avoid dem fah go inna people place but deh nuh come give we no assistance. Deh nuh bring no trap. The guy say deh cud bring one but we still nuh see dem yet.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“And no compensation for the heads of cattle lost?”

 

Wayne Wade

“No compensation. Forestry nuh pay yuh no mind. The Government nuh pay yuh no mind. That’s it what is happening to Belize, check. We nuh get no assistance when it come to deh thing deh. None at all.”

 

Wade says he has reached out to different authorities, but so far they haven’t received help.

 

Wayne Wade

“I check with forestry and I check with Audubon by the lagoon side and the bwai weh deal with it from forestry come and he  inspect and say he wah come back fi try do something and deh nuh show up deh face back no more again.”

 

With hundreds of acres as far as the eye can see, it is difficult to know when and where the jaguars would strike. While traps would be ideal, none have been set for the predators. With their livelihood at stake, what do farmers do in this case?

Wayne Wade

“Well, the only way we could deal with it is if we meet deh we have to shoot deh. That’s the only way how to get them out. But you lose wah lotta time and dah wah really tricky animal and ih hard fi si deh. Because I spend days and days, weeks, di try si if I si deh and I nuh si deh. Dah when deh done kill ah animal dah then yuh know.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“So far, as far as you know, none of the jaguars have been caught or killed?”

 

Wayne Wade

“I nuh sure, but I believe deh kill some already. The guys deh weh fi come catch them just look and walk round my pasture and that’s it right deh. Yuh nuh hear nothing more back from dem again. Deh she if we happen fi kill one ah deh mek we call them and then deh wah si if dah any animal weh have wah problem. But deh neva get back to you.”

 

The problem isn’t a new one. Wade started to lose cattle years ago, but lately there has been an increase in losses.

 

Wayne Wade

“Dah wah problem weh deh long time because the first time I buy my first set ah animal, one come back deh and ih kill two and drive out like bout nine. Suh that dah weh I mi lost. I neva have no problem again like fi a while like fi three years until it start again bad fi the past year and half ih really get outta hand.”

 

Andrea Polanco

“What do you think is causing the Jaguars to concentrate or to be coming around so frequently in this area?”

 

Wayne Wade

“I nuh sure weh the jaguar di come from. People say deh di come way from up dah Cayo side and some people say deh di come way from back ah hill bank side. I nuh know weh deh di come from but deh really outta hand. Some people say dah because deh di clean down lotta big land, but I nuh really sure.”

 

And while it has gone on for years, the recent incidents have farmers concerned for their personal safety.

 

Wayne Wade

“Well, yuh have to concern fi yuh own personal safety. That dah fi sure because you deh back ah your place di tek ah lee rest yuh know when one ah deh wah jump top ah yuh, check. So it’s a big problem with dah part deh. Big problem too. So when yuh go back ah yuh areas yuh always have to di travel with guns and carry yuh dog with yuh to make sure if deh ever come round yuh dog could alert yuh check.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Andrea Polanco.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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3 Responses for “Are Jaguars Preying on Livestock in Crooked Tree?”

  1. CEO says:

    The jaguars were there first and we invaded their space.

  2. john riess says:

    Blame on the goverment for big greed… green tropics…santander or whatever they are.. mennonites and cayo grain.. chopping and clearing acres by the thousands in the name of development, destroying everything in their way from wild life to archeological sites and illegal logging. all together is pushing wildanimals to the margins of civilization. So what do we do know??? Belize will end in a pile of dust and ash. human destruction.

  3. Skeptic says:

    Looks like Andrea quoted every ah, and deh (which is merely an accent) trying to make the government’s robbery victim look like a backwoods hick.

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