Burgers’ Zoo and the Swiss butterfly park Papiliorama have protected a nature reserve of more than 400 square kilometres in Belize for over thirty years. Burgers’ Mangrove is inspired by this successful nature conservation project and acts as an ambassador for the area. Through our years of work in Belize, we have become acquainted with other small-scale, successful species and nature conservation projects locally. We are happy to support them too! Thus, nature conservation in Belize has become one of our main conservation priorities, even besides our “own project”. In this monthly series, we will discuss current developments in Belize. This time: tagging jaguars
Forty-five stations with two camera traps each have been installed throughout the entire area we protect in Belize. This will allow the rangers a better idea of where to find which animal species. The most photographed species are curassows (cracid birds) and the white-lipped peccary. The latter is great news for the jaguars as the white-lipped peccary is a favourite prey for these big cats. The distinctive spotting pattern of the jaguars allows the migratory movements of individual jaguars to be closely monitored.
In an earlier trial, one cougar and one jaguar were given a collar transmitter so that rangers could check whether the animals were staying in the protected areas or spending time in open countryside and agricultural areas. The tagged cougar often wandered close to inhabited areas, while the jaguar did not enter these areas much. There are problems with jaguars grabbing goats, calves and dogs in various parts of Belize. The Belizean zoo is overflowing with ‘problem jaguars’, especially from the country’s south. Several rangers have been specially trained to gain a better understanding of the behaviour of the jaguars. They can now assist in catching and tagging jaguars under anaesthetic. Twenty more jaguars in and around our protected area will be tagged with transmitters to follow these animals.
Meanwhile, Natasha Acosta, the educator associated with our project, has established very successful children’s clubs in two villages adjacent to our protected nature reserve. Under the name “Jaguar Cubs”, the children meet regularly to learn more about the forests and their inhabitants and participate in nature and environmental protection activities specially geared towards children. Forty children are now proud members of the Jaguar Cubs. Children’s clubs are often the key to the PR and education offensive around local nature conservation. Enthusiastic children often get their parents on board as well. The Friends of Belize sponsoring club, linked to Burgers’ Zoo, will financially support this great educational initiative in the coming years to enable its continuation and expansion. Do you want to help? Read more at https://www.burgerszoo.nl/natuurbescherming/belize.
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