2015 (4 months)
2016 (3 weeks)
I was lucky enough to get accepted for a volunteer position with Panthera Belize/ERI (Environmental Research Institute) after I finished in Mexico (summer 2015). Although they were doing research on a lot of different topics, jaguar and puma research was their main interest. They focused on human-wildlife conflicts and population research. I was mainly involved in the research in Cockcomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary (CBWS), which is know for a high density of jaguars. My tasks were split in 2 (fieldwork and office work).
The fieldwork consisted of collecting camera-traps and I was lucky enough to be there when they were going to try and trap jaguars (and pumas). It was a great experience to see how traps were set and the protocol to follow, unluckily we had no success.
Although in the office my main job was making sure all the camera-trap pictures got organised and analysed, I got a lot of freedom to play around with the data and created some ideas about activity patterns and such. There was still so much I could learn here, but time was running out, and by the end of December I made my way home again.
In 2016 however, after the project in Honduras, I made my way back to Belize to help with some fieldwork. It was a very short visit to investigate some hurricane damage, check some cameras and to do some puma scrape surveys.
During this time I was lucky to see my first proper jaguar, and it were 2 of them.