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#391113 10/26/10 03:19 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
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hazzyy Offline OP
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Anyone see the news about the jaguar that escaped from the zoo after the hurricane? Yikes...I hope the person it attacked is ok.

Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 8,868
The jaguar that attacked a man was not from the zoo.

Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,461
Information for Travelers and Residents

Warden Message U.S. Embassy Belmopan, Belize

October 26, 2010

Dangerous Animal Escaped from near the Belize Zoo following Hurricane Richard- Still Loose

The U.S. Embassy in Belmopan is issuing this Warden Message to alert Americans that there has been an incident near the Belize Zoo involving a jaguar fatally attacking a person. The Belize Police Department is responding; however, the animal has not yet been recaptured. The Belizean Police have confirmed the jaguar escaped from its cage. All the animals at the Belize Zoo have been accounted for.

We recommend U.S. Citizens avoid the area surrounding the zoo and stay away from forest areas for the time being. We also suggest American Citizens monitor local radio and television stations for official updates. Additional media reports may be found at Channel 5 News Belize (, Channel 7 News Belize (, and the Belize Tourism Industry Association (

We encourage U.S. citizens living or traveling abroad to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration website at so that they can obtain updated information on travel and security. Americans without Internet access may register in person with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy to contact them in case of emergency.

For emergencies involving American citizens in Belize, please contact U.S. Embassy Belmopan. The U.S. Embassy is located in Belmopan City on Floral Park Road, telephone from the United States: 011-501-822-4011; telephone from within Belize: 822-4011 or after working hours at 610-5030. You may also contact the Embassy by e-mail at: [email protected]. The Embassy's Internet address is

Edited by myself.

Last edited by Katie Valk; 10/26/10 05:05 PM.

Belize based travel specialist
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According to Patrick Jones from Love FM:

"BREAKING NEWS: Escaped jaguar attacks and kills a man in Belize. Details coming shortly."

"Victim identified as Bruce Cullerton. Apparently a tree fell on the cage the animal was being kept in. The animal got loose and attacked Cullerton. The jaguar is NOT from the Belize Zoo, but was apparently being kept as part of a documentary being filmed in Belize. I am heading into the area where the attack happened and will be keeping you posted. The jaguar is apparently still on the loose in Central Belize."

Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,208
This cat was not from the Belize Zoo. I hope someone contacts the Embassy to put this right. Experts have been drafted in and there will be a capture attempt tonight.
Belize Wedding Photography

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400
Jaguar that escaped during Hurricane Richard blamed in US citizen's death in Belize
By The Associated Press -

A jaguar that escaped from its cage at a Belize animal rescue centre during Hurricane Richard has been blamed in the mauling death of a U.S. citizen whose body was found on Tuesday.

The four-year-old male jaguar named Max escaped when a tree fell on his cage on Sunday, the same day Category 1 Hurricane Richard hit the country's Caribbean coast with howling winds and rain.

Authorities found the victim's body near the animal centre on Tuesday. It had bite marks on the forearm and neck, and had apparently been attacked the day before and dragged for some distance into the bushes.

Belize's national police force identified the victim as Bruce Cullerton, an American who also held Belizean citizenship.

Kelly McCarthy, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Belize, confirmed that "a U.S. citizen died from a jaguar attack." McCarthy could not provide any information on the man's hometown or name.

The escaped jaguar had been sighted in the area of the attack near the animal centre, located west of Belize City. Officials of the Belize Forest Department were trying to recapture it using steel-mesh cage traps baited with meat.

The 130-pound (59 kilogram) jaguar had been taken to rescue and research centre two years ago, after a tourist resort which had held the animal as an attraction gave it up after tourists complained.

The centre's operators, Richard and Carol Foster, rescue animals and attempt to return many of them to the wild. But it is unclear whether Max would be allowed to roam free again if he is recaptured.

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400


Richard Foster; CEO, Research Centre

"We had a horrendous hurricane come through here on Sunday night. Winds of excess of a hundred miles an hour."

The chain of events that has apparently led to the death of Bruce Cullerton started on Sunday night, during the passage of Hurricane Richard.  A four year old jaguar being rehabilitated by Richard and Carol Foster escaped and is believed to have mauled Cullerton on Monday night.

Richard Foster

"This cat I know from experience. I have worked with him a lot and he originally come from Backa Bush where he exhibit. Tourists decided they didn't want him there so he was brought over to us. Now it took about six days or a little less to catch that cat in a trap. He was originally caught from the wild in a trap, so I understand so he had a healthy dislike for traps. It was pointless really setting it the first night when he was not hungry."  

And that belief that hunger will keep the animal close to familiar surroundings is what the Fosters and officials of the Forestry Department are hoping will help them to recapture the animal.

Patrick Jones; Stand Up

This is the cage where the Jaguar named Max escaped on Sunday night during the passage or Hurricane Richard. Indications are that a tree fell on top of the structure damaging it and allowing the animal to break free. In the ensuing twenty four hours it is believed that was when the jaguar attacked and killed Cullerton.    
There is evidence at the scene that indicates that the jaguar attempted to drag Cullerton into the nearby bush. His body was found about a hundred feet from behind a vehicle parked under the house. Exactly what happened on Monday night never be known; but veterinarian Dr. Isabelle Paquet-Durand says this was a tragic incident that was not normal behaviour for a jaguar.

Dr. Isabelle Paquet-Durand

"In general jaguars, wild jaguars, will only seek proximity to humans when they are really sick and old like these problem jaguars of which some we have had here but normally they would not attack a human. This has never happened before; the only time that fatalities too have occurred with jaguars has been in zoos when people have not observed the rules and gone into an enclosure with a jaguar. Tame jaguars are dangerous, wild jaguars are never do this."

This is Cullerton's dog, and today the vet was tending its wounds, apparently from the same attack that killed its owner. The Fosters, with help from the Forestry Department and Belize Zoo are working feverishly to recapture the animal. According to Wildlife Officer Rasheda Garcia the intention is to trap the animal not kill it, just so random killings of other animals does not happen.

Rasheda Garcia

"We heard about the report this morning. Since we heard about it we came here and we have been investigating to find out exactly what happened. The jaguar escaped from the Fosters during the hurricane so now what we are doing we are working along with Omar Figaroa who is an expert on Jaguars in Belize. We are also working with some keepers from the Belize Zoo who have had a lot of experience capturing jaguars. Tonight we will be out trying to capture this jaguar."

And the fate of the animal once recaptured is not certain.  What is known however is that the Fosters intended to use it in an upcoming National Geography documentary.

Richard Foster

"We were hoping to use it in a National Geographic film but so far this particular cat hadn't had any expose in the media."

Patrick Jones, Reporter

In terms of the safety of people in this area, should they be concerned until you capture this animal?

Richard Foster

"I would say just stay away from this general area. I don't think it will do to Democracia; the cat, that's why I wanted to establish food here the first night after it escaped, stayed in this area. This is his come and I am sure he probably within a couple hundred yards of us right now sleeping in the bushes. It is very timid during the day; they get bolder at night."

And hopefully that trait will help the search team to locate and trap the jaguar before another incident takes place.


Joined: Nov 2003
Posts: 475
So the US Embassy puts out a warning and tells people not to go into the forest because there is a Jaguar on the loose?

This just in from the US Embassy(We are not capable of balancing our checkbook but we can best care for you): A nurse shark was spotted in the ocean off Ambergris Caye. Please stop by the embassy and pick up one of our GPS trackers so that we know where you are every second of your existence and don't go in the water!

Last edited by TravelinMan1; 10/27/10 06:20 AM.
Joined: Jul 2000
Posts: 1,925
It's a jungle out there!

Reality..What a concept!
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400

Expert: "The Cat Must Be Put Down"

So, tonight, residents of Central Belize are on high alert - because a killer cat is on the loose. The Police and the Forestry departments have been deployed to find the cat before it harms anyone else.

The Forestry Department called on conservation biologist Omar Figueroa - who's worked extensively with big cats in that area. He's trapped and tracked over 40 jaguars and pumas in what's known as the central corridor and has now set 6 traps for this one.

He told us that the event of a jaguar attacking and killing a man is not typical of a wild cat - but it has happened before with jaguars kept in captivity.:�.

Omar Figueroa, Conservation Biologist
"The incident that we have here is extraordinary. I think there is only been like 2 attacks on a human before that has been recorded and this had occurred in a zoo, so you have this sort of behavior happening when you have a jaguar in captivity and then somehow they manage to escape. A cat that have been in captivity loses that fear of humans, so that's why this particular needs to be recaptured and it needs to be taken care of."

Jules Vasquez
"You have any idea how this cat will be moving? What he will be looking for?"

Omar Figueroa, Conservation Biologist
"I don't think that this cat will move far away from where it was held in captivity and there are signs already that the cat is in the neighborhood of where the incident occurred so that is where I am right now trying to lure him back to some traps that we have set. I don't think the cat will go into the nearby village and roam in that area. These cats are very elusive, very cryptic, they will move away from that kind of confrontation, I believe. Where the incident occurred I think there is only 1 other individual, one other couple that lives right next the house where it occurred. The nearest village I believe is a few kilometers away and so like I said I don't this cat will be roaming out there near the village, he will stay right here. There are signs through traps, I have scouted the area and have seen a couple of fresh tracks that tell me the cat is in the area."

Jules Vasquez
"Should this animal be put down?"

Omar Figueroa, Conservation Biologist
"I believe it should Jules and for precisely the same reason that you mentioned: once this confrontation occurs I mean at the end of the day I might be a conservation biologist but we always put the human welfare first and foremost."

Up to this news time, the jaguar had not been sighted. Figueroa says that jaguars in the wild who have not been raised by humans strictly avoid human settlements. Of note also is that Figueroa says that if this cat comes into contact with the home range of the other jaguars who live in the area - he will doubtlessly be killed by the jaguar whose space he has entered.

He says there is no chance the cat can survive in the wild and so he has set all 6 of his traps within 500 meters of the jaguar's former home.

Channel 7

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