Farmer and his cattle during Milwaukee Zoo visit
We have been working hard and in partnership with cattle farmers across southern Belize’s Maya Golden Landscape (MGL) to promote coexistence between farmers raising livestock and the jaguars, which call the intact, broadleaf forests home.
In January, Ya’axché hosted a group of docents from the Milwaukee Zoo who have a special connection with Belize, our jaguars and Ya’axché’s Human-Jaguar Conflict program. In 2008, their zoo had been a recipient of a rehabilitated jaguar from the Belize Zoo, who had almost met his demise by a cattle farmer due to livestock predation. This jaguar, affectionately known as Pat, unfortunately passed away in 2017. However, the Milwaukee Zoo’s interest in Belize’s jaguar population has continued and the partnership between the Zoo and Ya’axche has been strengthened by this most recent visit. The docent group attended presentations by Ya’axché’s Human-Jaguar Conflict Officer, as well as other staff, and got the opportunity to visit a human-jaguar conflict program farm, where they saw firsthand the mitigation measures in action and heard from the farmer the impact of the Human-Jaguar Conflict Program on their farm success and livelihoods.
There is a similar need for coexistence within Maya Mountain North Forest Reserve (MMNFR), a protected area comanaged by the Belize Forest Department and Ya’axché. MMNFR is quite a unique case, as Ya’axché was permitted the right to establish a 936-acre cacao agroforestry concession within the Reserve’s boundaries. Although the 31 farmers working with the concession are not raising cattle, they are indeed advancing their livelihoods based upon the productivity of the land, cacao trees and coexistence between fauna, flora and people.
In 2019, Ya’axché undertook a camera trap study, during Belize’s dry season, to understand the level of biodiversity within the MMNFR cacao agroforestry concession. The results of the study, carried out by Ya’axche’s Science program, demonstrate an incredible amount of biodiversity and species richness, including photos of the five big cat species which call Belize home - the jaguarundi, margay, ocelot, puma and of course, the jaguar.
Coexistence between farmers, jaguars and the landscape is key across the MGL. Highlighted here are just two examples of program success. We thank you for continuing to support Ya'axché's Human-Jaguar Conflict Program.
Jaguarundi - MMNFR Camera Trap, Ya'axche Science
Puma - MMNFR Camera Trap, Ya'axche Science
Ocelot - MMNFR Camera Trap, Ya'axche Science
Margay - MMNFR Camera Trap, Ya'axche Science
Jaguar - MMNFR Camera Trap, Ya'axche Science