In southern Belize, livestock farmers can no longer ignore their neighbor: the largest cat in the Americas, the jaguar. In 2021 alone, Ya'axche's wildlife conflict team has responded to over 8 calls reporting a predatory attack by jaguars on livestock or other domestic animals from community farmers and residents. Ya'axche has initiated a pilot program focusing on human-jaguar coexistence so both cat and farmer can thrive, and needs your support to continue this important work!
The iconic jaguar represents large-scale habitat connectivity and conservation in the Americas, and is found within southern Belize's Maya Golden Landscape. However, lack of available land has led local cattle farmers to seek pasture closer and within broadleaf forest, putting these farmers for direct competition with jaguars over resources and setting the stage for retaliatory killings in response to jaguars preying on livestock, which has resulted in a 55% decline in geographic distribution.
As the only organization in southern Belize working on human-wildlife conflict, we help current livestock farmers to "jaguar-proof" their farms by providing solar foxlights, to scare off jaguars, and secure wooden corrals, to gather calves and cattle safely together. In addition to providing mitigation tools, we also install camera traps on farms to deepen understanding of jaguar movement. Specifically, this project will fund our jaguar conservation activities for 6 months.
Ya'axche has taken an innovative approach to aid in conservation of the threatened jaguar and to sustain livelihoods for local cattle farmers. The combination of direct aid through the mitigation tools, farmer relationship-building through monthly visits and research, education and awareness through camera traps and radio programs is focused on building local understanding of jaguar importance and establishing long-term human-jaguar coexistence within the MGL and beyond.