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#465113 - 05/24/13 11:00 AM Captive Jaguar Escapes In Southern Belize
Marty Offline
There’s a jaguar on the loose in South-western Belize tonight – and the Forestry Department is hoping it can trap the cat before the night is over. The jaguar is domesticated and was kept as a pet by the Pollack family in the Ringtail area of the Cayo district. Ringtail is a village at mile 40 on the Hummingbird Highway near the Blue Hole.
The Polacks were authorized by the Forestry Department to keep the animal as a pet – but it escaped “several days ago.” According to Chief Forest Officer Wilbur Rosado, it has been spotted foraging in the area where it had been held. Sabido says that because it is domesticated, the jaguar cannot hunt and won’t wander far; they expect it to come back to its home area looking for food.

Multiple traps have been set, and the Forestry Department has called on the same persons who helped re-capture Max the Jaguar to catch this one. Viewers will recall that Max escaped from the Fosters in the Belize district near Democracia in October of 2010, and was caught and put down – only after he killed a neighbor.

Well, in this case, Sabido says the public risk is minimal because the location is remote, and it is a large, privately held area “fairly far removed from any urban or rural population.” Still, he stresses that they need to have it trapped as soon as possible and relocated to the Belize Zoo.

The conventional wisdom on the big cats is that there’s greater risk to the general population with a domesticated jaguar because it is accustomed to human contact, and because of that, it has no fear of humans, whereas wild jaguars avoid human contact as much as possible.

Sabido says that he hopes examples such as this can lead to the eventual discontinuation of the practice where permits are granted to private persons to hold wild animals when they don’t have the infrastructure to contain or the training to handle them.

Channel 7

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#465229 - 05/26/13 11:24 AM Re: Captive Jaguar Escapes In Southern Belize [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Escaped Jaguar Still Prowling, Expert Urges Caution

Tonight, the captive jaguar that escaped in south-western Belize is still on the loose – and 7news has learned that traps have not been deployed yet. The cat is a two to three year old female and the Chief Forest Officer could not tell us exactly when it escaped. But our information says it could be as many as six days ago.

This afternoon, Belize’s foremost Jaguar expert Omar Figueroa went to the area in Ringtail Village at mile 40 on the Hummingbird Highway in the Cayo District. Before leaving he discussed the case with us very generally, because at this point, he is just being brought into the picture.

Figueroa who has trapped Jaguars extensively throughout Central Belize said that female jaguars in the wild are far more aggressive than male cats. He said the risk is that this jaguar – which has been in captivity since she was a cub - can’t hunt and sees humans a source of food. He said he hopes that the cat is staying close to her home area, because if she has started to move out further, that would be “a worst case scenario.” In the wild, female cats have a home range of over 120 square kilometers. Again, Figueroa had no direct knowledge of the specifics of the case, since he was just brought into the picture this afternoon. He says he has to orient himself to what’s been happening in the area since the cat escaped before he can make a decision to lay any traps.

As we reported, the cat was a pet – permitted by the Forestry Department – of the Pollack Family in the area of Ringtale Village. It escaped some days ago – but no one can tell us with certainty how many days – though, best information, pouts the escape at sometime last weekend. Figueroa warns that if the cat hasn’t eaten since then, it might be even more dangerous.

Channel 7


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