This was posted on Patrick Jones' facebook page ...


I am Kenneth Karas, Managing Director of Belize Lodge & Excursions (BLE) and I would like to respond to the situation regarding the jaguars that you are reporting on.

Belize Lodge & Excursions has cared for the jaguars for the past 10 years. BLE acquired them after a completed breeding program carried out by a US Zoo and Park Xcaret and were given approval from the Forestry Department to provide a home for them on the property at Indian Creek. Their future was uncertain and we were able to rescue them from being placed in a private zoo in Mexico. A state of the art outdoor and indoor facility was designed and built with approval from the Forestry Department and the animals have lived there in good health for the past 10 years and the Department on a yearly bases would visit and inspect the condition of the animals and there were never any issues.

At the end of May of this year BLE closed for the season as we do each year leaving staff on duty to care for the animals. The manager in charge was provided with a weekly budget for feeding the animals and as far as I knew they were being well taken care of as they always have been. After closing for the season I traveled to the US, as I do every year, on weekly basis I would receive reports from the manager on the animals as well as on the property and at no time was I told that the animal was not being fed or that there were any health issues, in fact I was told everything was fine. I only learned of the condition of the animals this past Saturday when one of the Company’s former employees contacted me and told me of the situation. What I now understand has happened is that the person in charge misused the funds provided to him for the care and feeding of the animals.

These animals are well known in the south and conservation organizations such as TIDE and YCT were aware of the facility and its function and have visited many times and never had any issues with how the animals were being treated and cared for. Our guests were able to see the animal in a natural forest setting and local school groups visited for educational tours on a regular bases, providing an opportunity for people to see these animals where otherwise they would rarely be seen.

I deeply regret what has happened and we are currently working with the Forestry Department and a vet to stabilize the animal and move it to the Belize Zoo.