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Jaguar starved to death at tourism resort

Posted By: Marty

Jaguar starved to death at tourism resort - 07/17/12 02:47 PM

[Linked Image]

This is one of two Jaguars held captive in the resort which since the business has been struggling have suffered the unimaginable pain of being slowly starved to death.

On Friday we learned that the jaguars being held captive in Belize Lodge and Excursions, Boden Creek Ecological Preserve, an 11,000 acre property which lies adjacent to Indian Creek village in Toledo, were starving to death and that one had already died. The property which is a high end, five star, ecotourism resort has had captive animals on show to their guests for many years. However the resort seems to have fallen on hard times, they have not been paying their staff and it has been discovered that the animals they have been keeping captive have not been fed or watered for a long time either.

It is an incredibly painful way to die, to be starved, and that is what these jaguars have been suffering, along with other animals such as spider monkeys and howler monkeys which are also understood to have been starved to death or abandoned and released into the jungle with little chance of fending for themselves after being kept in captivity for so long. Under the laws of Belize it is lawful to enter property without permission when an animal is suffering cruelty, in light of this Ya'axche's head ranger went to assess the condition of the animals and found one of the jaguars lying emaciated with a tether around its neck, the other jaguar, a black one, is still surviving but severely undernourished. Forest Department have been notfied and have stated that they will come to collect the surviving animal on Tuesday.

By: Ya'axché Conservation Trust
https://www.facebook.com/yaaxche

From a friend....

I've been writing about those poor jaguars and about the lodge for years. As far as I know, nobody took action or paid much attention. I pulled this outfit from the guidebooks I do after seeing their caged jaguars.
Posted By: Marty

Re: Jaguar starved to death at tourism resort - 07/17/12 03:04 PM

was asked to pull this til the remaining jaguar is rescued.....
Posted By: Katie Valk

Re: Jaguar starved to death at tourism resort - 07/17/12 11:17 PM

But then repost with Ken Karas name and all the other info I'll get you. He has an uncanny ability to raise funds and can prepetrate this again in another country. He didn't pay his bills when he wasn't on hard times. He is a sociopath and has lied, cheated and stolen since the day he set foot in Belize. He needs to made made an environmental pariah so where he goes, people know.
Posted By: Marty

Re: Jaguar starved to death at tourism resort - 07/18/12 12:59 PM

ok will do. have been saving information for when this goes public....
Posted By: Marty

Re: Jaguar starved to death at tourism resort - 07/18/12 01:42 PM


Severely malnourished black jaguar to be rescued from Ballum Na Lodge

On Saturday the 14th of July the Belize Wildlife Conservation Network (BWCN) was alerted to a black jaguar in distress at Ballum Na Lodge in the Punta Gorda area. Wil Maheia, a BWCN member and well known Belizean conservationist, had been able to gain access to the jaguar, named Bosch, and he attempted to provide him with food. During this time he was able to take a photograph of the animal and the condition of the jaguar in the photograph made it clear to the BWCN that urgent action was required. There were also suspicions that other animals may be on the property or may have recently died. Working closely with the Belize Forest Department, it was decided that due to the location of the animal, the most urgent issue was to have the jaguar and any other animals on the property assessed and, if necessary, provided with food and fresh water.


Ian Morton, a BWCN volunteer, in the Punta Gorda area was able to view Bosch on the morning of Sunday, the 15th of July. He discovered that only one jaguar, Bosch, was on the property. He took further reports that another jaguar had recently died but could get little information about any other animals. During this time, he was able to take photographs to document the condition of the jaguar as well as ensure that food and fresh water was available. He immediately reported back to the BWCN with his observations and photographs. During this time, efforts were underway to develop a rescue strategy for Bosch with BWCN volunteers and the Belize Forest Department. Dr. Isabelle Paquet Durand, wildlife specialist from the Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic in Cayo, was able to provide Mr. Morton with clear advice on providing a specially prepared feed, containing vitamin supplements, to assist Bosch and prevent further deterioration in his condition until she would be able to assess him personally. Mr. Morton visited Box again on Monday the 15th of July to make sure he received the diet recommended by Dr. Paquet Durand.


At this time it was also brought to the attention of the BWCN that another conservation group. Ya’ axche Conservation Trust had observed and photographed a dead jaguar at the same site on Friday the 13th of January, confirming previous reports of a jaguar death. On Tuesday the 17th of July, Belize Forest Department Wildlife Officers, accompanied by Dr. Paquet Durand left Cayo at 4am to make their way to Ballum Na Lodge in Punta Gorda, where a full veterinary assessment was made. While the BWCN had every hope Bosch could have been removed from his current situation today, his condition is too poor to attempt to move him at this time. Arrangements have been made to ensure he will receive the care that he needs this week and he will be closely monitored in the hope that he will be fit for travel by Friday. The BWCN very much appreciate the support and well wishes from the community for Bosch’s quick recovery and want to assure the public that everything possible is being done to have a positive outcome. The BWCN will, of course, provide updates on Bosch’s progress.

BWCN has been working on creating a nationwide network of volunteers called the Wildlife Emergency Response Team (WERT). Although WERT is not fully operational, BWCN is proud that it could already call on volunteers to spring into action to deal with such an urgent and serious wildlife issue. BWCN has also been collaborating closely with the Belize Forest Department to update wildlife laws and develop guidelines to prevent cases like this happening in future. If you would like more information on how to become a WERT volunteer or how you can assist wildlife in Belize, please contact BWCN at [email protected] If you have a wildlife emergency or would like to report a wild animal in distress, please contact the Belize Forest Department on 802 1524.

Press Release – Belize Wildlife Conservation Network – 17 July 2012

Posted By: Marty

Re: Jaguar starved to death at tourism resort - 07/18/12 01:46 PM

From Lan Sluder of BelizeFirst.com....


What I can't understand is why nobody has done anything about the jaguars before. Surely everybody in official positions or in tourism in Toledo knew about the jaguars.

I met Ken Karas in late 2008 (think it was December), and he personally showed me the jaguars, which at that time were kept in a cage. My daughter was with me and was very upset, as I was, by the conditions in which these beautiful animals were kept. The cage was small, with a concrete floor and steel bars, nothing like the conditions for jaguars at the Belize Zoo.

I wrote about it then (including mentioning it on this listserve) and since and have advised numerous people to avoid the BLE lodges in Toledo.

I later pulled Belize Lodge & Expeditions from Fodor's Belize and from other guides I've done. I couldn't recommend a place like that, even though the BLE lodges were very nice.

The whole Belize Lodge & Expedition operation in my opinion has been weird from the beginning. The managers I met were not like most other tourism operators in Belize -- they were secretive and unfriendly.

I understand that a prominent Belizean company pulled out of its original deal with BLE several years ago, losing a large amount of money.

=====================

This is what I wrote in "Rambles Around Belize 2008" after visiting Belize Lodge & Excursions and meeting Ken Karas in January 2008. I posted this on my website (www.belizefirst.com), on a couple of Belize forums (and also here on this listserve, I believe). I also published this as a Kindle booklet on Amazon.com:

By the way, it is my understanding that Ken Karas is NOT the owner (as stated on one of Brian's links) but is a "representative" of the owners ... not been able to confirm that either way, however.
--Lan Sluder
>>

In late January, I also stopped at Indian Creek Lodge and met Ken Karas, who runs this and the other Belize Lodge and Excursions’ three lodges in Toledo. That’s another story, but Mr. Karas did show me Balaam Na, which means “House of the Jaguar” in K'etchi Maya. It is about a 10-minute drive from Indian Creek. Balaam Na has attractive, upscale suites in a lodge that is built over a fenced enclosure where, I was told, two jaguars would be placed. The idea is that guests can look down from their suites or the raised walkway and see the jaguars. When I was there construction was still going on in at least one of the suites. Supposedly, according to the web site, this place has been open for a while, but it obviously wasn't open when I visited.
When we finished the Balaam Na tour Ken Karas asked if my daughter and I wanted to see the two jaguars. We said yes. The jaguars, beautiful young males, one black and one spotted, are being kept in a small cage at Indian Creek Lodge. So far as I can see, they have no place to exercise, no way to be out in the open. Now, I understand the idea is that at some point they will be put in the fenced enclosure at Balaam Na. When I don't know. But even to be kept in such a cage for a few weeks or few months -- I have no idea how long they've been in there, but it hasn't been just a few days -- is disturbing.
Posted By: Marty

Re: Jaguar starved to death at tourism resort - 07/18/12 01:47 PM

From a good friend in Belize:
(For the not informed: Yeye (Mandarin Chinese) = granddad)


Good morning Yeye

We are dealing with a horrible situation in Belize right now.
A so called 'eco' resort in southern Belize Indian Creek area has
caged & starved jaguars abandoned to die!
Forestry is there right now trying to save what they can.
Resort is huge, 13,000 acres, Belize Lodge and Excursion, they also
own Moho Caye Resort, which is in a marine reserve.
They have the nerve to call one lodge Baluum Na, which means House of
the Jaguar.
check out their fancy website--they own alot & rich as hell.
I spent most of yesterday calling Forestry, the BZ Tourist Board, the
conservation societies around Belize.
there is no charge for a permit for keeping a jaguar!
it should be $50,000 at least, with training, license, regular checks,
all that stuff.
Again--foreign owners making a huge mess in Belize & giving Belize bad press.
Internet is pretty fast, and with all the social media & blogs etc,
this story is public.
very public.
personally, I hope the jaguars can recover, the owners get kicked out
of Belize or JAILED here at Hattieville, their land confiscated, and
then we other hotel owners get to flog them in public. Even better,
let me just kick them until I cannot kick anymore.
They did not even release them into the wild, they abandoned them in
cages!!!!!!!!!!!!
a slow horrible painful death--for what? tourist amusement? private
entertainment?
The whole time we were a few miles away at Cacaofest, these animals
were dying of thirst and hunger.
and not only jaguars but monkeys, parrots, etc--starved to death already.
shame shame shame this went unmonitored by the BTB--they check every
single hotel for fire extinguishers and licenses--you would think they
could send the Forestry Dept to check up on the wild creatures that
are shown on their damn website!
NEGLIGENCE
BTB won't even release the owners names!

not happy with this bs!
L
Posted By: Marty

Re: Jaguar starved to death at tourism resort - 07/18/12 01:48 PM

The L street address in Washington for this outfit in one of the links Brian put up is smack in the middle of Washington's legal zone -- where all the big and small law firms operate. We call it "K Street" but lower L street is part of that zone. The picture of that address in Google map confirms to me that it's an office building in the middle of the Washington law firm zone.

I imagine that's just a drop box address.

No legal company in the US have a name starting with Belize Lodge....
FOREST CARBON OFFSETS L.L.C does exist the person listed on the website is the owner along with some G.M.

Posted By: Marty

Re: Jaguar starved to death at tourism resort - 07/18/12 01:49 PM

Video from 2011: Jaguar From Our Bedroom at Ballum Na Belize Lodge & Excursions

Posted By: Marty

Re: Jaguar starved to death at tourism resort - 07/18/12 02:42 PM

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.
Posted By: Kayo

Re: Jaguar starved to death at tourism resort - 07/18/12 08:18 PM

a person claiming to be Ken Karas' daughter posted on Patrick Jones' Facebook page, in the topic mentioned above:

Imari Soraya - You people are disgusting. Ken Karas is my father and I refuse to sit back and watch you maliciously judge him. Firstly most of you are completely contradicting yourselves. Save the animal, punish my father? Get the hell out of here! Of course, as I have expected no less of you, you all have jumped to conclusions. Let me put this in simple language for you: we were UNAWARE that these animals were not being fed. I have learnt that funds for our jaguars have been misused. Anyone with a business and who have gone through this can understand the disappointment and betrayal. For the past ten years we have closed for the end of the season and care for the jaguars have proceeded as usual. For ten years we have given them the best possible home. I have never failed to boast about how well they have been taken care of. For the umpteenth time, they were never used for glorification purposes. We were honored to have them in our care. Our jaguars were our top priority. We are disgusted to have learnt of their conditions recently and are completely appalled to have discovered that one of our jaguars has perished horrifically. While we are currently mourning the loss of Xupi allow me to give you a glimpse of a different insight. I grew up surrounded by my father's love for nature and animals. He would never condone inhumane treatment to animals he loved. If he had only known the conditions of these animals he would have taken care of it immediately. He fell in love with Belize decades ago and marveled at the beauty and potential. In the midst of creating lodges that offered a rare experience in Belize - and also providing an outlet of trades and jobs for our indigenous people of the south- we were given these jaguars from a highly reputable park in Mexico. TIDE, The Belize Forestry Department and other organizations in Belize have known about our jaguars. Never was there a problem that surfaced about them. So go ahead, let these organizations let you believe they are unaware of these cats and our purposes with them. They just end up looking quite ignorant. As for the obvious problem - we are undoubtedly taking full responsibility for our jaguars - regardless of the reasons surrounding the matter. No matter whose fault it was in the outcome. Personally I feel melancholy about this entire matter. I am heartbroken that these cats I have had so much pride in and grew up with have suffered such a fate. One is detrimentally ill and the other no longer with us. May Xupi rest in peace and forgive us for indiscriminately allowing this to occur. We are doing what is best for Bosh in attempting to get him rehabilitated and off to what we believe is a better, SAFER home. Stop with presumptuous judgements. The matter is being dealt with currently.

about an hour ago · Edited ·
Posted By: Lan Sluder/Belize First

Re: Jaguar starved to death at tourism resort - 07/18/12 08:42 PM

Great job, Marty, on providing information on this sickening situation.

In looking at the photos it must have been going on for many weeks, possibly months.

It is beyond my comprehension that the managing director of the company, the captain of the ship -- and this is not some small mom 'n pop operation, as it is, or was, a multi-million dollar operation -- could just walk away and remain totally unaware of this happening.

I myself should have done more than I did to help these poor creatures.

--Lan Sluder
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Jaguar starved to death at tourism resort - 07/18/12 08:54 PM

Originally Posted by Lan Sluder/Belize First
It is beyond my comprehension that the managing director of the company, the captain of the ship -- and this is not some small mom 'n pop operation, as it is, or was, a multi-million dollar operation -- could just walk away and remain totally unaware of this happening.


The bigger the ship, the further the Captain from the helm. It is a damn shame to loose two fine animals and there should be accountability.

Yet, how many times have we read or heard of workers taking advantage of "the captain of the ship" being away? Far too often in point of fact.

Should "the captain" have considered this in the plans to maintain his property and charges during his absence? Definitely. Is the worker going to be held on charges of animal cruelty and theft? Most likely not - there's nothing to gain in press or prison by going after the individual closest to the action but we can probably get a few dollars from the "multi-million dollar operation".
Posted By: DogLady

Re: Jaguar starved to death at tourism resort - 07/18/12 09:09 PM

Belize has an animal cruelty act; will any of the guilty parties be punished under this act?
Posted By: Marty

Re: Jaguar starved to death at tourism resort - 07/18/12 09:24 PM

from a friend.....

Karas' statement doesn't pass the sniff test.

Belize Lodge & Excursions is not some mom 'n pop hotel. It's a big operation with at one time five different lodges in Toledo (the number of open lodges has since shrunk to I think three). In-season at least they have dozens of employees, and even if they close off-season they would have to have a crew of security guards to watch the place -- you don't just walk off and leave a multi-multi-million dollar operation unprotected -- plus other staff to take care of at least the big lodge at Indian Creek and the Jaguar Lodge nearby.

Surely someone would have been around and would have seen what was happening to the jaguars. The cage where the jaguars were kept -- and it IS a CAGE (look at the photo of the black jaguar) is just a few hundred yards off the Southern Highway.

And in the end Ken Karas is responsible -- he's the captain of the ship. To blame it on some poor local Mayan employee is despicable.
Posted By: Marty

Re: Jaguar starved to death at tourism resort - 07/18/12 09:25 PM

more for your "sniff test"

Response from the KARAS family

Imari Soraya - You people are disgusting. Ken Karas is my father and I refuse to sit back and watch you maliciously judge him. Firstly most of you are completely contradicting yourselves. Save the animal, punish my father? Get the hell out of here! Of course, as I have expected no less of you, you all have jumped to conclusions. Let me put this in simple language for you: we were UNAWARE that these animals were not being fed. I have learnt that funds for our jaguars have been misused. Anyone with a business and who have gone through this can understand the disappointment and betrayal. For the past ten years we have closed for the end of the season and care for the jaguars have proceeded as usual. For ten years we have given them the best possible home. I have never failed to boast about how well they have been taken care of. For the umpteenth time, they were never used for glorification purposes. We were honored to have them in our care. Our jaguars were our top priority. We are disgusted to have learnt of their conditions recently and are completely appalled to have discovered that one of our jaguars has perished horrifically. While we are currently mourning the loss of Xupi allow me to give you a glimpse of a different insight. I grew up surrounded by my father's love for nature and animals. He would never condone inhumane treatment to animals he loved. If he had only known the conditions of these animals he would have taken care of it immediately. He fell in love with Belize decades ago and marveled at the beauty and potential. In the midst of creating lodges that offered a rare experience in Belize - and also providing an outlet of trades and jobs for our indigenous people of the south- we were given these jaguars from a highly reputable park in Mexico. TIDE, The Belize Forestry Department and other organizations in Belize have known about our jaguars. Never was there a problem that surfaced about them. So go ahead, let these organizations let you believe they are unaware of these cats and our purposes with them. They just end up looking quite ignorant. As for the obvious problem - we are undoubtedly taking full responsibility for our jaguars - regardless of the reasons surrounding the matter. No matter whose fault it was in the outcome. Personally I feel melancholy about this entire matter. I am heartbroken that these cats I have had so much pride in and grew up with have suffered such a fate. One is detrimentally ill and the other no longer with us. May Xupi rest in peace and forgive us for indiscriminately allowing this to occur. We are doing what is best for Bosh in attempting to get him rehabilitated and off to what we believe is a better, SAFER home. Stop with presumptuous judgements. The matter is being dealt with currently.
Posted By: DogLady

Re: Jaguar starved to death at tourism resort - 07/18/12 09:36 PM

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? "Their future was uncertain and we were able to rescue them from being placed in a private zoo in Mexico." this is a helluva thing to say when you just let animals starve to death--

NEWS FLASH Mr. Karas...YOU are as bad if not worse. Please do not pretend that you are any better than the "private zoo in Mexico", that is simply insulting.
Posted By: Rigrat

Re: Jaguar starved to death at tourism resort - 07/19/12 10:08 AM

Quote

Response from the KARAS family

Let me put this in simple language for you: we were UNAWARE that these animals were not being fed. I have learnt that funds for our jaguars have been misused. Anyone with a business and who have gone through this can understand the disappointment and betrayal. For the past ten years we have closed for the end of the season and care for the jaguars have proceeded as usual. For ten years we have given them the best possible home.


As an open letter to the Karas family.

I have to take exception to this. Owning an animal, any animal, means you have to take some sort of responsibility. Just handing over that responsibility to someone who is not a trained animal keeper was just plain irresponsible, no matter how many times it has been adequately taken care of. Plus giving them the best possible home is also stretching the truth. Although these were captive bred animals, they were not domesticated animals and as such needed far more space to roam other than a concrete floored cage in the middle of a hotel.
These animals existed purely and simply to attract business to a resort. There was no 'love' of the animals or else they would not have been on display. They were simply living ornaments to attract trade. No wonder you feel upset and betrayed, one of your cash cows has died and the other is very poorly and the negative publicity will hurt you further.

Quote
I have never failed to boast about how well they have been taken care of. For the umpteenth time, they were never used for glorification purposes. We were honored to have them in our care. Our jaguars were our top priority. We are disgusted to have learnt of their conditions recently and are completely appalled to have discovered that one of our jaguars has perished horrifically.

They were most certainly used for glorification purposes, they were stuck slap bang in the middle of a hotel. There also was no honour involved in having them in your care as you abandoned these animals every year for 10 years and every year we used to hear stories about things not being done correctly.
Quote
While we are currently mourning the loss of Xupi allow me to give you a glimpse of a different insight. I grew up surrounded by my father's love for nature and animals. He would never condone inhumane treatment to animals he loved. If he had only known the conditions of these animals he would have taken care of it immediately. He fell in love with Belize decades ago and marveled at the beauty and potential. In the midst of creating lodges that offered a rare experience in Belize - and also providing an outlet of trades and jobs for our indigenous people of the south- we were given these jaguars from a highly reputable park in Mexico.

Was this the same love that forced the removal of the monkey rehab facility to our premises and then on to Sartajena after no money was provided for the care of the monkeys? What about the caged birds? Was this love the same love that caused him to order the release of non rehabilitate monkeys into the wild where hey almost certainly wouldn't survive? Was this the same love that when he found out that he wouldn't be able to display the monkeys that he lost all interest in the project?

Quote
TIDE, The Belize Forestry Department and other organizations in Belize have known about our jaguars. Never was there a problem that surfaced about them.


There was no problem because these were jaguars owned by the resort. If they had been wild caught jaguars then believe me you would have heard about it. Breeding Jaguars in captivity has led to a glut in captive Jaguars in zoos. Nobody wants them. The are too may in zoos. If you hadn't taken them they would have been euthanised.


Quote
So go ahead, let these organizations let you believe they are unaware of these cats and our purposes with them. They just end up looking quite ignorant. As for the obvious problem - we are undoubtedly taking full responsibility for our jaguars - regardless of the reasons surrounding the matter.

None of the organisations are denying that they knew of these jaguars. But they all will robustly insist that they did NOT agree with what you were doing with them. Even though you say you are taking responsibility for these animals, you are not. The people responsible for them right now are the people who are feeding them until they are well enough, The Belize Wildlife Conservation Network, The Belize Wildlife Rescue Team, and the Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic. All under the authority of the Belize Forest Department.

Quote
No matter whose fault it was in the outcome. Personally I feel melancholy about this entire matter. I am heartbroken that these cats I have had so much pride in and grew up with have suffered such a fate. One is detrimentally ill and the other no longer with us. May Xupi rest in peace and forgive us for indiscriminately allowing this to occur.

Crocodile tears?
Quote
We are doing what is best for Bosh in attempting to get him rehabilitated and off to what we believe is a better, SAFER home. Stop with presumptuous judgements. The matter is being dealt with currently.

As I said before, you are actually doing very little. You are leaving it all up to others. Has Ken Karras flown back to Belize to take responsibility?

I hope people will avoid doing business with any establishment that displays wildlife as a tourist attraction
Posted By: dabunk

Re: Jaguar starved to death at tourism resort - 07/19/12 10:48 AM

Funny also nothing on either channel 5 or 7 that I have read about this?
Posted By: Marty

Re: Jaguar starved to death at tourism resort - 07/20/12 01:19 PM

Black Jaguar Left to Starve At Hard Time Resort

A rare black jaguar called Bosh is at the Belize Zoo being rehabilitated after he was left to starve by a the management of a resort in the Toledo district.

The cat was found at Belize Loge and Excursions, in the Boden Creek Ecological Preserve adjacent to Indian Creek village in Toledo. The property was formerly a high end, five star, ecotourism resort featuring captive animals to display to their guests. But the resort seems to have fallen on hard times and management stopped paying their staff and stopped feeding the animals.

Marchilio Ack, the haad ranger from the Ya'xche conservation trust became aware of their plight on Saturday and told us what he found when he went to the resort:..

Marchilio Ack, Head Ranger - Ya'axche Conservation Trust
"When I reach out there I saw the jaguar barely moving, he was starving to death because you could see that he is very slim. There were two of them, we saw the other jaguar motionless - not moving, we tried to give him stuff to see if he could move but he was already dead. There was no water in the cage and they has not been feeding the jaguar. That the reason why one of the jaguar died."

"On Saturday I start feeding the jaguar that was alive with chicken; we can see that he gain some energy and started to move around. The condition that we found him in he was barely moving."

"It was outrageous because as a person working for 12 years being an environmentalist, I mean this sort of behavior in treating this wildlife is out of order. I think we have laws governing this, especially for the jaguar because they are endangered species and somebody needs to look after them very carefully. I felt very sad about it, it's really hurt to see how they are treating the jaguar at the site."

The cat has been rescued by the Belize Wildlife Conservation Network and was this morning transferred to the Belize Zoo. The Forestry Department is working on charges to be levied against the owner under the Wildlife Protection Act. He did not have a permit to have possession of the cats.

The owner, Ken Karas is also facing major backlash from workers who said they were not paid for an extended period of time.

Channel 7

Posted By: Marty

Re: Jaguar starved to death at tourism resort - 07/21/12 01:15 AM

The severely malnourished Jaguar that was found at the Ballum Na resort near Indian Creek village is now in his new home and in safe hands. Love News spoke with Umberto Wahlers, head of animal management at the Belize Zoo for an update on the Jaguar.

UMBERTO WAHLERS, Head of Animal Management (Belize Zoo)
“Let me start by saying that we got a call from the Forest Department that the system is transpiring a very emaciated jaguar from Indian Creek to the Belize zoo that was on Monday. We have planned to build a very nice crate on Wednesday to do the transport back to the zoo because he was in bad condition. He is probably getting a lot of better attention at this time. It think that he was probably not having enough food. At this time we’re giving all the care we can have, we have we have all the people here that can take care of the jaguar really well. The animal is in care of the Belize Zoo. At this time we have a special diet after consultations with the consulting we designed a special diet of liver, boiled eggs, we are getting a special canine cat food. It’s going be a while. Normally, an animal can get very sick, very quickly but recovering it takes a little so I can’t anticipate how long he would recover but we are given the maximum care to this cat. We are hoping, that’s our intention to me. The jaguars are very important, they are endangered species and we how that this animal can be back to their jaguar species.”

Umberto expressed his gratitude for those who were instrumental in saving Lucky Boy.

UMBERTO WAHLERS, Head of Animal Management (Belize Zoo)
“Well, all I can say is thanks to the Forest Department officer Ms. Jasmine Ramos and Mr. Nathaniel from Indian Creek who rendered in assistance in making this transport to happen and to Tony Gabriel and Gladimir, these guys are from the Zoo, who helped in bringing the jaguar safe to the Zoo. His new name is Lucky Boy. He is lucky to be here at the zoo and be alive. Our director is very good in finding names and her father for giving her that lucky name. His old name was Bash.”

LOVEFM
Posted By: Marty

Re: Jaguar starved to death at tourism resort - 07/21/12 12:49 PM

From friends.....

I don't see anyone with an excuse. If he wasn't paying them, ok. But anybody could have called for help. To just leave them there is criminal. Karas is to blame to be sure, but somebody operational on the ground should have made a simple phone call weeks ago.


"Someone operational on the ground .."

And which unpaid person might that be?


There had to be quite a few staff around, whether they were being paid or not. Since it closed in May, without at least security guards and maintenance staff the whole place would have been ransacked by now.

As I said, the jaguars were kept not in a pen at the House of the Jaguar Lodge a mile or two away but in a cage near the main building at the Indian Creek Lodge, which is right on the Southern Highway.

Anyone who was coming to work was just steps away from the jaguars. Paid or not, any human being has an obligation to help a poor starving animal locked up in a cage without food or water, or at least to notify somebody about it. The Ya'axche rangers are nearby.

But, again, the buck stops with the top guy. You don't just go away for months and assume that everything is going to be taken care of.


Any and all on those grounds, including the owners, are responsible.

The not or low wages paid, to the point of neglecting (for Belize) fair pay, are the full responsibility of the owner. Whichever way this story gets twisted, the owners have to assume full responsibility, by legal force if necessary.


A full investigation should include an examination of the fiscal side of the operation. The business report seems to claim that it is up to a 25M annual operation. I would think that in order to determine responsibility, an in depth look at who was being how much to do what would be part of the study. All operating permits need to be officially rescinded immediately and all assets frozen.


A full investigation should include an examination of the fiscal side of the operation. The business report seems to claim that it is up to a 25M annual operation. I would think that in order to determine responsibility, an in depth look at who was being how much to do what would be part of the study. All operating permits need to be officially rescinded immediately and all assets frozen.


Based on my observations of their guest counts and from what I heard, Belize Lodge & Excursions was nowhere near a $25 million business. Closer to $2 million, if that.


Their site I was on a couple days ago has been taken down.
http://www.belizelodge.com/cgi-sys/suspendedpage.cgi

This site notes up to 25M and 100 employees http://www.zoominfo.com/#!search/profile/company?companyId=12864283&targetid=profile

However, what needs to be done now, other than some general population jail time, is dig to the bottom of the entire scheme and develop policy so that it cannot happen again.


This lawsuit might help shed some light on how it works

http://www.belizelaw.org/supreme_court/judgements/2004/sc/civil/286_of_1999.pdf


Rescued black jaguar now at the Zoo

Yesterday, TBZ officials, working in concert with the Forest Department, successfully rescued the emaciated and sickly black jaguar from an abandoned resort southern Belize. Far too weak to withstand anaesthesia as a strategy to aid in his being transferred to the Zoo, a crate was constructed at TBZ on Wednesday, and taken to the jaguar's home the following day. Then, with much patience and some good beef liver, the thin and sickly cat was gently convinced to enter the crate. Once inside, the door was slowly lowered, and "Lucky Boy" (his new name) began the long journey to his new quarters. "Lucky Boy" quickly settled in and again was fed some nice beef liver and cooked eggs. It will take a bit of time to get "Lucky Boy" fit and beautiful, and we look forward to his being a proud on-site Belize Zoo black jaguar for all to admire!

" The Belize Zoo It will be some time before he's on main exhibit. Lucky Boy needs some tender love and care off scene for a while before he's strong enough to meet his admirers. As for the resort, Forestry and the Police Department are on the case, as far as we know. Apparently workers' salaries were neglected as much as poor Lucky Boy. Let this be a lesson that wildlife should NOT be kept as pets or for purely for show. They belong in the wild, not at resorts, and, for those that need aid, there are rehab and care centers like the Zoo. A HUGE thanks to Forest Department and the BWCN for their support in this effort. We are all overjoyed to have saved such a beautiful cat from such an ugly fate."

The Belize Zoo


Sadly, this is not the only lodge or hotel in Belize that keeps wild animals (including jaguars and other wild cats, monkeys, quash, toucans and other native birds) for display. Anyone who has done any traveling around Belize knows this.


BELIZE LODGE AND EXCURSION OWES WORKERS THEIR WAGE

Workers from the Belize Lodge & Excursion in Punta Gorda are disgruntled of unpaid wages and have taken steps to address the situation. Paul Mahung reports.

PAUL MAHUNG, Reporter
“Workers of a lodge in Toledo remain very concerned about their unpaid wages. The Belize Lodge and Excursion is located in Indian Creek Village, Toledo and a number of workers of the Lodge have had enough of waiting for their duly unpaid wages. This situation triggered off a reason for a group of workers and villagers to wait at the front gate of the Lodge as explained by Indian Creek village chairman Romero Coc.”

ROMERO COC, Village Chairman (Indian Creek)
“Thursday night July 2012 information was that owner of the Belize Lodge and Excursion Company was coming in the village and immediately workers gathered to wait for him in front of the company gate. Upon his arrival workers attempted to have a talk with him but he refused to do so and instead he sped off in his vehicle. Late that morning police arrived at the scene and interviewed several workers on the date and months they were owed by the company. Having reliably informed that Mr. Carlos was still in the village police was sent to get him which they did. Both Carlos and Mr. Nathaniel Moss, the manager was then brought to the police station.

PAUL MAHUNG, Reporter
“Chairman Coc also spoke of what transpired at the Punta Gorda Police Station and payment plan.

ROMERO COC, Village Chairman (Indian Creek)
“Workers were asked to make formal statement to the police station PG Branch regarding their pay but sad to say upon their arrival none of the workers were given a chance to voice their concern in person at the station. At the station, myself, Romero Coc; labor officer, Mr. Ramos, detective, inspector Dominquez, Mr. Kenneth, Mr. Nathaniel Moss conveyed in a room at the station to negotiate and demand a payment plan if the owner cannot pay for it. Mr. Carlos agreed to give the first payment on August 3rd, 2012 and thereafter payments proceed every thirty days until all workers are paid. Defaulting in payment will lead to court case filling at the Magistrate Court by the Labor Department and Labor Officer PG Branch.”

PAUL MAHUNG, Reporter
“Coc further commented that from his investigation there are twenty eight unpaid workers from Indian Creek and many others from other nearby communities who have not been paid by the management of the Belie Lodge and Excursion for work done ranging for a period of two months to over a year. Reporting for Love News, Paul Mahung, Punta Gorda.”

LOVEFM


Black Jaguar "Bosh" Now Named "Lucky Boy"

Last night we told you about the black jaguar named Bosh who was rescued from an abandoned tourist Lodge in the Toledo District. We reported that he was rescued by the wildlife conservation network - but actually, it was the Belize Zoo that did the job. Zoo staff built a transfer crate, coaxed the cat inside with beef liver and took him on a three and a half hour ride to the zoo. He could not be tranquilized due to his extremely poor health.

He is now at the zoo where his name has been changed from Bosh to Lucky Boy. He is being nourished with a specialized feline diet to build up his strength.

You can check the zoo's facebook page for updates on his condition.

Channel 7




Owner of Belize Lodge and Excursions catching heat

The Belize Lodge and Excursions in the Toledo District has found itself in the center of controversy. That is after a famished black jaguar was found on the property of the abandoned resort. This past Saturday, the Belize Wildlife Conservation Network (BWCN) received a tip about the distressed jaguar and the team quickly responded to the area, where they immediately attempted to render aid to the much weakened cat – Bosch. One of the employees of the Belize Lodge shared with PGTV the deteriorated condition of the animal.

Journalist, PGTV
The lodge has been closed?

Former Employee 1
Yes it has been closed since April.

Journalist
So do you guys know about the jaguar that was back there and the monkeys and what happened to them?

Former Employee 1
Yeah there is this old man who used to take good care of them, but it looks like when he stopped, no one fed the animals. People are saying that sometimes that Manager that lives here goes there and gives the jaguar two or three pounds of neck and back, but I don't think that will help these animals.

Bosch was much too fragile however, to be transferred from the area and so plans were made to rehabilitate him there, and then transfer him to the Belize Zoo. Meanwhile, attention has been shifted to Managing Director of the resort, Ken Karas. And while he is placing blame on an unnamed manager for the deterioration of the cat, the Forest Department is saying that the Karas was not even authorized to be possession of the cat. In addition, workers of Karas are up in arms because they say they have not been paid for an extended period of time.

Former Employee 2
I worked there for a year, but he doesn't like to pay.

Journalist
Do they owe you money right now?

Former Employee 3
Yes Sir. Here is my time keeper that tracks my time; you can take a look at it. I stopped working in February.

Journalist
How many months do they owe you for?

Former Employee 3
All of this here, for about a hundred and ten days.

Journalist
Have you been to the Labor Department?

Former Employee 3
Yes I have and they are telling me that they don't have time and that they are trying to call Karas, but they can find him.

Former Employee 4
I only got one week pay and I need to get three more days. They haven't finished paid me as yet.

Journalist
So they still owe you money?

Former Employee 4
Yes, they still owe me three more days, but they only pay twenty seven dollars a day and they are not to pay like that, they are to pay at least thirty dollars a day.

As for Bosch, well he now goes by the name Lucky Boy and he is quickly settling in at the Belize Zoo recuperating in an animal friendly and very healthy environment.

PlusTV

Posted By: Marty

Re: Jaguar starved to death at tourism resort - 07/25/12 01:14 PM

"Lucky Boy" the Jaguar Making A Comeback

The Black Jaguar formerly known as Bosh, now called Lucky Boy - who was saved from certain death a little over a week ago is reported to be making a recovery at the Belize Zoo.

According to the Zoo's facebook page, he's eating well on a special restorative diet, and is friendly with his caregivers, eating directly from their hands.

He is described as a surprisingly calm and easy going jaguar.

Channel 7

Posted By: Caliafshin

Re: Jaguar starved to death at tourism resort - 07/25/12 10:59 PM

Two years ago I stayed with Belize Lodge at two of their camps. I did not stay at Ballum Na, so can't comment about that particular property. But I've got to say that we should not jump the gun and blame the owners for what has happened fully. It is truly a shame for such beautiful animals to have suffered so much. But sometimes, hired help do not perform their duties no matter what is done by management and/or owners. I persnally met Mr. Karas at one of the camps and had a conversation with him. It is highly aplausable what he has done in Belize. Visiting the two properties clearly marks how much he cares about the environment and his nature preservation thoughts. He has preserved so much land in southern Belize that could have been otherwise exploited. Furthermore, most of his employees are local Mayans who would most likely not have a job otherwise. So yes, this is horrible and needs to be investigated. But to blame him single handedly without further evaluation of this situation is clearly wrong.
Posted By: dabunk

Re: Jaguar starved to death at tourism resort - 07/25/12 11:05 PM

He has not paid so many people in Toledo that the police took him into custody to keep him from getting harmed when he arrived in PG. He has been ripping off Belizeans for years. He is a charmer but a like many of that ilk rips off as many poor people as he can and then blames everyone else.
Posted By: Caliafshin

Re: Jaguar starved to death at tourism resort - 07/25/12 11:27 PM

Originally Posted by dabunk
He has not paid so many people in Toledo that the police took him into custody to keep him from getting harmed when he arrived in PG. He has been ripping off Belizeans for years. He is a charmer but a like many of that ilk rips off as many poor people as he can and then blames everyone else.


Again, I do not know of his business habits with his employees. But running a large operation and still thinking about environmental preservation is no easy task. I hope for a good resolution for this issue at hand for all involved. This has been a sad story and hopefuly will be a lesson learnt for all.
Posted By: ckocian

Re: Jaguar starved to death at tourism resort - 07/26/12 01:33 AM

The buck always stops at the corner office whether he knew or didn't know. He should have been checking on his employees. It takes but a New York minute to see that an animal is starving.
Posted By: dabunk

Re: Jaguar starved to death at tourism resort - 07/26/12 10:54 AM

He should have been paying his employees in the first place.
Posted By: Marty

Re: Jaguar starved to death at tourism resort - 07/26/12 12:00 PM

A Black Cat That's Nothing But Good Luck

Over the last few days, we've been telling you about the black jaguar, Lucky Boy, who was rescued from a rundown resort by the Belize Zoo.

Today, we visited him in person to check up on his progress.

We found a black cat, who's been nothing but good luck...

Daniel Ortiz Reporting

The black jaguar, Bosh - now named Lucky Boy - is in good health, showing signs of improvement, with his playful and energetic attitude to being fed.

It's a complete turn-around in behaviour from the first day at zoo, when he was quiet and reserved in a far corner of his cage. He now has the company of the staff at the Belize Zoo, and he even has his own song.

But it wasn't such easy-going when Lucky Boy was discovered in his extreme distress. The zoo staff described his health condition as the worst they've had to deal with.

Humberto Wohlers - Animal Management Supervisor, Belize Zoo
"We heard about it. We were contacted by the Forestry Department, and we moved immediately to the cite. Find a different situation, not very prepared when you go the first time, we started brainstorming how to best transport a very emaciated jaguar."

So, they had the difficult task of transporting the jaguar, which was in poor health. They had to get it into a crate and transport it without using tranquillizers.

Humberto Wohler
"Normally, animals would take a little while to be crate-trained and any additional things in their environment change their behavior. So, we know that crate-training would be the best way - the safest way. We didn't think any more about anesthesia, just crate-training this jaguar, and having the jaguar confident in that box."

They eventually got it in the crate after several hours of coaxing and they transported it to zoo, where they started feeding it to improve it's health.

Sharon Matola - Director, Belize Zoo
"I'm really proud of my staff. It's really hard to crate train an animal even if you have an unlimited amount of time, and they did it in less than a day. So, I was astounded at that. Then, it came up here, and it was the thinest, most emaciated jaguar I've ever seen. We've gotten 14 jaguars in our rehab program. He's the worst conditioned jaguar. After you finished feeling really bad for him, you have to get to work, and get him up to score. It's just been a great thing in my life because every day, you see a steady improvement. He is just an amazingly intelligent animal. He responds to positive reinforcement. We've had jaguars come in here that it takes weeks to get them to settle down. They'll rush the fence; they'll bite at the fence. They're mad; they're angry. He was confused, and he did stay in the corner for a while, and just kind of - like any of us I think would have. 'I don't know where I am. I don't know what I did to deserve this.'"

While working with Lucky Boy, the staff discovered it was suffering from another medical condition.

Humberto Wohler
"So, once the animal got safely here at the zoo, we started to slowly feeding jaguar with a special diet. We had a group of vet students, led by Dr. Isabel, and they conducted some fecal analysis for the animals, and most importantly for Luck Boy. We found out that he has hookworm, and he's going to be treated for that too."

The staff immediately started working on getting Lucky Boi used to life at the zoo, but they were pleasantly surprised that he was a smart animal, who showed signs of good treatment at his former home, even if the former owners fell on hard times.

Sharon Matola
"So, what you do is you spend a lot of time. It's time investment, feeding him - he has his own song. He knows his name is Lucky Boi. In 3 days, he learned to do a high-five. The boy is smart, and I also like to say that I'm not really sure of the conditions that he was kept in. I've never been to the resort, but he wasn't mistreated. A cat with that personality has a background of being well cared for, so I don't know what happened along the way. All I know is that we're going to get him 100% healthy. We'll gently introduce him to Springfield and CT over time. There's a way that you can do that. We would be under the advice of someone who's done that a great amount of time in his history, working with big cats. I don't perceive any problems."

Daniel Ortiz
"Will his permanent home be at the Belize Zoo?"

Sharon Matola
"Absolutely."

Lucky Boy will remain in the quarantine section of the Zoo, until he returns to full health. 7News will return on that day to see him join the general animal population at the facility.

Channel 7



Lucky Boy aka Bosch rescued from Ballum Na Lodge now safe and recovering at the Belize Zoo; photo by The Belize Zoo

The sad story of Bosch, the emaciated black jaguar that had been found starving and left abandoned at the Ballum Na Lodge in Punta Gorda has taken a happy turn after the heroic and caring efforts of a coalition of environmental organizations that came to his rescue and are now helping him to recuperate.


Hearts were saddened and angered when word came out of the jaguar that had been left for dead in a cage after irrational and possibly illegal circumstances led to those who were responsible for his care abandoning him without concern for his wellbeing or safety. It was only after Wil Maheia, a member of the Belize Wildlife Conservation Network, alerted everyone to the jaguar’s plight that Bosch’s condition became known. Immediately, a coordinated and dedicated team consisting of the Belize Zoo, the Belize Wildlife Conservation Network, and the Belize Forest Department came together to provide food, vitamins and supplements to prevent further deterioration in Bosch’s condition and help to keep him alive until a proper veterinary assessment could be conducted. On July 20th, rangers and volunteers from the Belize Zoo and the Forest Department successfully rescued Bosch and transferred him to his new home and the Zoo.

Bosch, who has been fondly renamed ‘Lucky Boy’ is now living comfortably at the Belize Zoo under the cautious and attentive hands of qualified and caring professionals who are slowly nursing him back to full health and providing the necessary love and attention he deserves. On the Belize Zoo’s Facebook Page they’ve commented that “Lucky Boy’s eating like a champ, and interacting enthusiastically with his caregivers. A surprisingly calm and easy going jaguar, a special diet and tender love and care are all he wanted. He’s definitely on his way back to being healthy and beautiful once more.” Lucky Boy is believed to be about 11 – 12 years old and according to the Zoo originated from Xcaret Zoo in Mexico. The Zoo keepers say that although it will take a number of months for Lucky Boy a.k.a. Bosch to make a full recovery and come back to full health they do believe that he will certainly return to his full majesty and beauty over time.

At this point it is uncertain exactly just how many people will be charged for the crimes of negligence and neglect that led to the jaguar’s severe health and condition, however, representatives from the Forest Department and Wildlife Conservation Network have indicated that they are seeking charges against the owner of the lodge, and anyone who played a role in allowing Lucky Boy to deteriorate to the state he had been in will be held accountable to the full extent. Forest Officer in the Wildlife and Law Program of the Belize Forest Department, Rasheda M. Garcia, has stated that “the animals were clearly neglected and the responsibility for their care and management squarely falls on the owner of the lodge. Therefore the department holds him responsible and will be pressing charges against him.

In a statement posted on Facebook in response to Lucky Boy’s dilemma Kenneth Karas, the Managing Director of Belize Lodge and Excursions (Ballum Na Lodge’s parent company), laid the blame for the condition of the jaguar on the shoulders of the manager who was left in charge, accusing the unnamed person of misusing the funds provided to him for the care and feeding of the animals. Karas said that when his resort closed operations at the end of May as is usually the case, staff were left to care for the animals. Karas claims that the manager was provided with a weekly budget for feeding the animals and that as far as he knew the animals were being taken care of. Karas went on to say that this arrangement has been the norm over the last ten years, with the manager sending him weekly reports, however the manager neglected to inform him of the health issues or that they were not being fed. The Belize Lodge and Excursions boss, in his online statement, said that he only learned of the condition of the animals at Ballum Na on Saturday, when one of the company’s former employees contacted him. The release from Kenneth Karas ends by saying, “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.

According to as yet unconfirmed reports, the lodge, which is actually a group of several different jungle and island lodges on more than 13,000 acres in Toledo, is believed to never have been successful as a tourism business. Allegations are that the establishment recently ran into financial problems and reportedly let most of its employees go, with the jaguars and other animals, including monkeys and birds, apparently left unattended and in captivity. There have also been reports that at least 28 employees of the lodge from Indian Creek village, along with employees from other Maya villages in the area have said that they had not been paid by the lodge in from two months to as much as a year.

Belize Lodge and Excursions has an address in Washington, DC that appears to be a drop box at a law firm. Apparently the lodge had permits to keep the jaguars at the lodge, which they claim were born in captivity, however this raises some questions as to what permits were in hand to allow them to keep jaguars on site since the pet permit application available for download at the Belize Forestry Department’s very own website clearly states that Jaguars fall under ‘Category 2: Felines’ of “Animals that cannot be held as pets”, along with other felines which are the Mountain Lions a.k.a. Pumas or Cougars, Ocelots, Margays and Jaguarundi. Not surprisingly the company website has since been taken down.

The San Pedro Sun will follow the developments of this story and provide further details about those responsible and any charges that would come as a result of the complete and utter neglect of Lucky Boy and the other animals that they were to be taking care of.

You can follow Lucky Boy’s progress on the Belize Zoo’s Facebook Page as they have promised to regularly post updates and photos of his recovery and progress on his way back to full health.

San Pedro Sun

Posted By: Marty

Re: Jaguar starved to death at tourism resort - 08/01/12 01:21 PM

[Linked Image]

Day 11 in Lucky Boy the Black Jaguar's new life: He is recovering slowly, and feeding and interacting as energetically as ever. And even more great news! Veterinarian Steven Servantez has launched a fund raising campaign on Indiegogo, an online campaign foundation helping to promote and raise funds for worthy causes! So far, Lucky Boy's Indiegogo campaign has raised $900 US, with a target of $15,000 for the much needed expansion and enrichment of his current enclosure at the Zoo. Visit the campaign at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/187353 to support the cause. Help us give us give this gorgeous boy the home and care he deserves!
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