Panthera Belize


Wild Cat Species

— Jaguar
— Puma
— Ocelot
— Jaguarundi
— Margay

Priority Landscapes

— Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary
— Maya Forest Corridor
— Manatee Forest Reserve
— Sittee River Forest Reserve
— Sibun Forest Reserve
— Chiquibul Forest Reserve and National Park
— Northern Biological Corridor 

Panthera’s Belize pioneered jaguar study in the Cockscomb Basin, leading the establishment of the first protected area for jaguars. Panthera is committed to research and monitoring in the park and has trained staff of other NGOs in camera trap monitoring, working towards the creation of national monitoring. 

With 60% of its landmass under natural wilderness vegetation, jaguars can walk from northern to southern Belize almost undisturbed through the broadleaf jungle. However, in the central part of the country, this continued connectivity is precarious, consisting of a narrow strip of unprotected, privately owned forest patches. Since 2008, Panthera's monitoring and conservation work is ensuring these forests can become part of the protected area system of Belize. This has resulted in the establishment of new protected areas.

The high density of jaguars throughout the country and the number of people who live at the edges of wilderness results in considerable human-jaguar conflict, with jaguars coming into contact with livestock and domestic animals. Panthera has been instrumental in training NGO and government staff to respond to jaguar conflict and ensure national solutions can be implemented to deal with this precarious problem.

Our work includes:

  • Maintaining the camera trap monitoring grid in the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, one of the longest-running camera grids for jaguars in the world, contributing to 30-plus peer-reviewed publications on jaguars, pumas, ocelots, margays, jaguarundis and other neotropical wildlife;
  • Helping to maintain national camera trap records with national and international partner organizations, creating one of the best jaguar monitoring networks in the species’ range;
  • Assisting the government with setting up new protected areas in the central part of Belize, ensuring a fully connected protected area system from north to south for jaguars;
  • Helping the government set up a national jaguar conflict program; and
  • Belize is the regional jewel of jaguar conservation, with the largest tracks of continuous, connected forest patches and some of the highest-recorded jaguar densities in the world.


  • Belize Forest Department
  • Belize Zoo
  • Belize Audubon Society (BAS)
  • British Army Training Support Unit Belize (BATSUB)
  • Runaway Creek, Foundation for Wildlife Conservation
  • Friends for Conservation and Development (FCD)
  • Corozal Sustainable Future Initiative (CSFI)
  • Virginia Tech (US)
A margay in the Cockscomb basin wildlife sanctuary in Belize
© Panthera/Belize Audubon Society/University of Belize

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Panthera Belize
Panthera Wild Cat Conservation Belize
Forest Department, Forest Drive, Belmopan, Belize.

Bart J. Harmsen, Ph.D.

Emma E. Sanchez, M.Sc.

Panthera Belize Blogs

The Ocelot King and Queen of Belize
The Jungle Matriarch: One Jaguar's Legacy
The Story of Ben, Our Jaguar Friend


Bart J. Harmsen, Ph.D.

Country Director

Emma E. Sanchez, M.Sc.

Country Coordinator

Shirley (Chia-Yu) Chang, M.Sc.

Country Administrator

Rosalia Dominguez

Wildlife Biologist

Chantae Guy

Research Technician