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Mar 18, 2015

Jaguar Officer Heads to Crooked Tree to Assess Livestock Predation

Belize has a healthy jaguar population in the region with an estimated five hundred jaguars; however, they are considered to be threatened and are on the decline internationally. But in rural Belize, Jaguars have been wreaking havoc. In Crooked Tree, Belize District, the protected animals have been killing livestock on which the livelihood of farmers depends. We first aired the story on Monday and the Jaguar Officer, Edgar Correa, heard the plea and early this morning, he went to one of the farms and Andrea Polanco was there.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Most of the pastures in Crooked Tree Village are bordering vast acres of forests. The remote location makes livestock easy prey for predators like Jaguars. Daily monitoring is difficult and fence like this one is constructed to keep in the cattle, not to keep out Wild Cats. More than fifteen farmers in the area have reported loss of livestock and have blamed Jaguars. Well, today one of those farmers is getting some help, in the form of Jaguar tracking technology.

 

Edgar Correa

Edgar Correa, Forestry Department, Jaguar Officer

“We are here to actually, we deployed two camera traps where Mr Wade recommended to us where he had seen tracks, to help us detect and see what’s coming around.  The first step to do is to put the cameras around and this would detect anything that comes around. This would tell us if it’s one jaguar or two jaguars or if it’s a puma or if it’s something else coming around. These camera pictures would help us to make proper decisions and what next step needs to be taken. If something does occur, an attack before the week or two weeks, we will come out and check it. But usually these cameras are checked twice a month, depending on the situation, the intensity of attack or things. That will help us make decision of how to check the situation because the pictures are easily downloadable by flash drive. They are easily identifiable, like I said, we can know how many; if it’s one or two and if it’s a male or female. Things like that.”

 

Depends on what shows on the camera, those steps may include the setting of traps and removal of the jaguar by the relevant authorities. Correa says that while the Wildlife Protection Act makes provision for animals like Jaguars, it also provides protection for herders and their livelihoods if threatened.

 

Edgar Correa

“Well, the Act itself in section two, briefly states that if an animal is affecting your life or livelihood, you have all rights to remove it. As a farmer that’s not meaning you can go out and set up a trap or go out of your pasture and shoot it- that would be considered as hunting. So, what they need to do, if they shoot an animal it must be reported to the Forestry Department before so that they have something in place to say that yes it had been affecting our livelihood.”

 

And for pastures without cameras, Correa says that there are other measures that farmers and cattle herders can implement to better secure their livestock.

 

Edgar Correa

“We are still in learning phase, testing different methods around the country, especially rural Belize. But, we recommend fencing, cleaning your buffer zones, having water troughs in the pasture, lights and corralling for small calves because that is important especially during breeding season. If an animal is dead around, we recommend they bury it because you don’t want to be attracting jaguars around. The use of guard animals, like buffalo, that are being used in Brazil and  in the country we have been using donkeys, the Mennonites use donkeys as an alarm because they naturally sense things.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Andrea Polanco.

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3 Responses for “Jaguar Officer Heads to Crooked Tree to Assess Livestock Predation”

  1. erick trujillo says:

    where will i get a buffalo stupid this is belize

  2. Ron Addison says:

    Hi There,I live in British Columbia Canada,Here we have Grizzly bears,cougars(mountian lion) and mule,whitetail deer,hence the predators.For the cats I have a high powered pellet pistol,they hate that,and don’t come back.If I keep the deer out they also don’t come back.Obvisouly that will not work on a 2000klg bear.Also I found the cats don’t like tobacco.I put all my butts in a can of water and spead that around my yard.I live in a small town of about 35000.I’m planning to come to Belize soon maybe I have ideas that might help.The above works for me.(still alive,LOL) Thanx for the info Capt. Ron

  3. Ron Addison says:

    These cats are awesome and need to be protected,I understsand the farmers plight,but we cannot kill things that get in the way,there has to be a sultion,just have to get more creative Ron

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