The headless carcass of a young male jaguar was discovered yesterday afternoon and fished out of the Belize River near Manatee Lookout along the Philip Goldson Highway. The carcass was retrieved by Mike Heusner of the Belize River Lodge with some help. He told Love News that he learned of the animal’s carcass after receiving a message. He explained what he found when he went on the river.
Mike Heusner – Belize River Lodge
I got in the boat with a couple other guys and I went down the river and we found it. I took pictures of it in the water, we put it in the boat and we took it back up to the lodge and took some more pictures of it. I called the authorities and I told them that I had it and I put it on ice. I appeared to be a jaguar but a young adult I guess. It measured about 24 inches without the head from the shoulder to the rump and a 23 inch diameter around the chest so it was not an adult but it was a big young jaguar. There were some bullet holes or shotgun pellet holes in the left leg and should so apparently it was killed by shotgun and somebody cut the head off. Obviously it was a knife cut because the cut because the cut through the skin is quite smooth. I have no idea when it was done but sometime after the earthquake I heard a couple shots down the river from us but people are always firing guns and sometimes fire crackers but the shots sounded more from a pistol but this is obviously done by a pistol so there is no way I can track down when and where it was killed. Maybe it was brought and thrown in the river.
We are told that Jaguar teeth, which are used as some sort of good luck charm, are in demand, prompting poachers to seek out the big cats. The big cats are endangered in Belize and because of this, Under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) regulation, the trade of any part of the jaguar is illegal. In Belize, the jaguar is protected under the Belize Wildlife Act of the Belize Constitution. The penalty for being in possession of illegal forestry produce can have a maximum sentence of five hundred dollars and six months imprisonment upon first conviction.