Sarteneja Community Supports Killing Of Problem Jaguar
Yesterday morning at 11:00, a jaguar was killed in Sartaneja village. This is the picture which was posted on FaceBook with the caption, quote, “Finally the village will stop being afraid. it was a big one,” end quote.
This sparked outrage on social media and drew consternation from conservationists. When we spoke to one of the villagers, however, she told us that the animal has been killing livestock for months, and several attempts were made to contact Shipstern Conservation & Management Area, before one of the villagers acted in self-defense when the Jaguar attacked, killing it in the process.
According to the villagers, a man was walking his 5 dogs when the adult jaguar attacked. The animal then turned on him, but one of the dogs barked, distracting it. When the jaguar pounced on the dog, the villager, in his panic, chopped the jaguar in its head before running away. They said that this was the last resort after months of waiting for the proper authorities to take merciful action.
When we spoke to a representative of Shipstern, he said that they do not have the legal authority to capture the animal, so they contacted the Forestry Department. The villagers had also contacted the department both over the phone and in person. We spoke to Sharon Matola over the phone who told us that the Belize Zoo has the equipment to capture and transport the animal, but they were never contacted.
The day before the jaguar was killed, it was spotted with a cub. The villagers believe that the cub is still near the village, and are asking the relevant authorities to capture it before it can pose a threat.