Belize is one of the best places
in the world to see wildlife in their native habitat: the jungle! For animal lovers, especially big cat lovers
a visit to the Jaguar Preserve is a must. Located about 50 miles from Belize City, in the Stann Creek District,
the Jaguar Preserve covers nearly 150 square miles of jungle. The preserve was first declared a forest in 1984
then a Jaguar Preserve in 1986. This is the prime place to see a jaguar in
the wild, however, other animals also live there too.
Periodic hurricanes damage and leave marks on the lush but
vulnerable forests of southern Belize. Dense secondary growth is interspersed with the more mature stands of
trees where the forest floor is relatively clear. The forest canopy ranges in height from 40 to 120 feet.
Rainfall is from 100 to 180 inches annually here and most of this falls in the rainy
season, which occurs from June to January.
Other then trying to find jaguar in the preserve there are
many other things to do. There are many trails around the preserve with longest being Victoria's peek trail at
26.0 miles. This magnificent trail takes you right up Mt. Victoria which has an altitude of 3681 feet, the
highest place in Belize. Bird watching is also extremely popular at the preserve. There more than 78 species of
birds found in the area.
Yes, it is a Jaguar
Preserve and jaguars are nocturnal. However, tourist have happened upon a jaguar walking in the middle of a
creek in broad daylight! There is approximately only 2500 jaguar in the preserve.
If you are planning a visit to the Jaguar Preserve be sure
to bring: bug repellent, hat, water bottle, hiking shoes, camera, binoculars, rain jacket and a bird
identification book. Make sure you pay attention to the trail, where you are and where you are going. Cell
phones do not work after one gets a certain distance into the jungle. If you do get lost in the Jaguar Preserve
the worst thing you can do is panic. Please stay calm and retrace your steps.
No matter where you may travel remember to respect the
wildlife and their space: Do not feed or pet the animals and do not litter. Thank you for having an interest in
visiting the Jewel of the Caribbean: Belize! ~Anthony Benjamin~