This unique sanctuary in southern Belize
Covers an area of about 150 square miles of tropical forest, and is the world’s only Jaguar Preserve. Declared a Forest Preserve in 1984 and finally a Jaguar Preserve in 1986, the park is the culmination of many years of work and perseverance by individuals and national and international organizations. (An excellent account of the work done on the study of Jaguars prior to the inception of the park is to be found in the book.
The park area is rich in beauty, wildlife and even Maya culture; a well concealed minor Maya ceremonial site known as Chucil Baluum is typical of the Classic Period. The Cockscomb Mountain Range towers over the basin to the north.
The highest mountain in Belize, Victoria Peak at 3,675 feet presides over the range and offers, in its largely unexplored reaches, chances for unrivaled exploration and adventure. The fine and abundant stands of mahogany and cedar have historically been in demand throughout this area and logging here provided a staple of Belize’s economy for many years.
The Jaguar (Panthera onca) is the third largest member of the cat family and endangered in most of its range. Here at Cockscomb, the Jaguar is doing quite well and is by no means the only beneficiary of the safety of the preserve. These wonderful animals are masters of stealth and their very existence is based on their seeing, but not being seen. Other cats such as the Puma, Ocelot, Jaguarundi and Margay, as well as Peccary, Paca, Brocket Deer, Tayra, Otter and Coatimundi, enjoy a population density difficult to achieve in most locations.