Jaguar killed and skinned in Caledonia Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 09 August 2012 00:00

Based on the information received by the Guardian, the hunting party was out in a cane field road on the outskirts of the village, when they came upon the jaguar that was in the company of a female jaguar and a cub. They decided to take it down and shot it to the back of the head and later took it to the village where it was skinned. Its hide was reportedly taken off to be sold.
What's alarming is that the jaguar is an endangered species. Speaking to jaguar specialist, Omar Figueroa, he explained that the population of the cat in Belize is between 400- 600 animals but that number being closer to 400. When we explained to him the killing of the cat in Caledonia, he expressed concern as the jaguar is protected under the Wildlife Act. He pointed out however, that there are provisions for an animal to be put down if it poses risks to livestock and human life. He said many times this is the excuse used to kill the cats, but there are no provisions for the hide, meat, teeth or claws to be taken either as trophies or for trade.

When he was told that the animal appeared to be a mature male and was accompanied by a female and a cub, Figueroa said that it was a shame that the animal was killed since it appeared to be of mature and reproductive age, and its killing severely affects the population of the cat as they take many years to reach a reproductive age. According to Figueroa, there are not enough studies conducted to determine the ecology of the jaguar and Belize is leading most research in this area. There is much to be understood in this area, he said, and while many are of the opinion that because there are numerous tracks to point a heavy presence of the animal, their roaming tendencies may help in the misconception. According to Figureroa, there is not a single nature reserve or protected area in Belize that can sustain the population of jaguars in Belize since they are known to roam in areas as large as 500 square kilometers.

He concluded by stating that hunters should not be reckless in shooting the animals since more often than not they do not pose a danger to humans.