are found throughout Belize in the lowland forests and along
the coasts. Adult jaguars are solitary and only come together
for a short time to breed. The size of a jaguars territory
depends on food availability. In a forest such as the Cockscomb
Basin, a jaguar will roam over a territory of about 20 square
kilometers. Jaguars hunt mainly on the ground and mainly
at night. Its food consists of everything from mice to birds
to tapir. Its favorite food in Belize is probably the warrie,
which lives in abundance throughtout the Jaguars habitat.
Jaguars once lived throughout the Americas, from Arizona
to the north to Argentina in e south. But hunting and forest
clearing has reduced their numbers and forced them out of
their habitat into interaction with man. Belize has one
of the healthiest populations in Central America, and the
Jaguar is protected from hunting throughout Belize.
When zoologist Alan Rabinowitz searched for the best place
to study jaguars, Belizeans sent him to an abandoned lumber
camp 20 miles southwest of Dangriga. What he found was among
the healthiest populations of the big cats anywhere in the
world. His work led to the establishment of the 102,000-acre
Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, which protects not only
jaguars, but the habitat supporting an intricate web of
smaller animals they depend upon.