Belize’s Big Cats Get a helping Hand as another Belizen Eco-Initiative Takes Off
Another initiative by Belize to contribute to a sane and sustainable world is picking up speed.
We’re referring to the recent signing of a memorandum of understanding with 18 nations to create and safeguard a wildlife corridor aimed at preserving one of the world’s most magnificent creatures and a Belizean icon – the jaguar.
Thanks to an official commitment from the Government of Belize and its environmental partners, there is now formal agreement to maintain the corridor through the jaguar’s natural habitat from Mexico through Central America and down to Argentina.
And according to a keynote speaker at the event commemorating the signing, Belize stands out for preserving a robust habitat for the big cats.
Dr. Alan Rabinowitz, who is the CEO of the international non-profit organisation, Panthera was lavish in his praise for Belize’s efforts.
“You have some of the wildest jungle I have seen remaining throughout the jaguar range. You have some of the best jaguar populations…
“Everything got started here 30 years ago and…. Now there are 18 countries signing these MOUs to maintaining the jaguar corridor,” Dr Rabinowitz said.
Here at Chaa Creek, and especially at our Belize Natural History Centre, we’re of course proud to see Belize lead the way and keep our big feline friends healthy, but we also realise the importance of keeping the pressure on and educating people about not only the beauty, but the importance of big cats such as jaguars, jaguarondis, mountain lions (the largest cats in Central America) ocelots, and margays to the environment.
They act as nature’s gamekeepers; ensuring that the strong survive and the stocks of those animals that are part of their diet remain strong. In short, the cats are essential to the delicate balance of the stunningly beautiful forest we’re so fortunate to be surrounded by.
Some of us of, um, a certain age, remember when there was a lively trade in big cat hunting and the sales of their gorgeous pelts. Those days are well and truly gone, and this is proof positive that (as with the trade in ancient Maya artefacts) the two E’s – Education and Enforcement work.
And now with 18 countries on board in maintaining the wildlife corridor, our beautiful big cats stand a decent chance of continuing their important role in this amazing circle of life we’re surrounded by.
As the good doctor put it, “Belize have some of the densest jaguar populations in the world living with people, helping create a ecotourism industry and showing how jaguars and local communities can live together.”
Amen to that.
Chaa Creek would also like to thank the University of Belize for hosting the event, and let’s all keep up the good work.