The jaguar is an iconic wildcat species in Belize. Jaguars are increasingly losing critical habitat and coming into conflict with livestock farmers due to expanding agricultural areas, including livestock farms. Ya'axche's previous collaborative work with farmers has yielded positive results to address this conflict. Ya'axche will assist 2 farms in becoming "jaguar friendly" and conduct 2 community/national workshops and outreach to preserve the harmonious coexistence of humans and jaguars.
There has been an increase in subsistence, low-income cattle farms in southern Belize to meet a growing local beef demand. Many of these farms are located within critical jaguar habitat, and are inadequately equipped with proper fencing/corrals to keep jaguars out. Predation of livestock on these farms results in farmer retaliation by shooting suspected jaguars. This has taken a toll on Belize's jaguar population and has threatened ecosystem balance through the decline in these top predators.
Ya'axche's human/jaguar program addresses different causes of conflict between humans and jaguars. We will install jaguar deterrent equipment at 2 farms adding to our 7 existing "jaguar friendly" farms. Mitigation strategies to be used include solar strobe lights to provide lighting around farms, adequate corral installations to decrease jaguar accessibility to vulnerable livestock and camera traps to improve identification of jaguars around farms, in addition to continued educational outreach.
In the face of growing human populations, we hope to develop sustainable farming methods that allow humans to coexist with wildlife around them. Successful implementation of mitigation measures on these 10 livestock farms will set a precedent for responsible and effective farming operations that allow farmers to secure their livelihood and Belize's jaguars and wildlife to thrive within the Maya Golden Landscape. Continued outreach will allow Belizeans to value the existence of native wildlife.