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Big Cat 'Grand Slam'

April 30, 2009

For the last two months our ten infra-red, motion sensitive cameras have been busy recording base line information on Felidae within a 5-mile radius of Blancaneaux Lodge. The study area covers pine ridge, the broad-leaf/pine ridge transition zone and the moist tropical broadleaf forest (jungle) of Noj Kax Meen Elijio Panti National Park.

The data gathered by Blancaneaux Lodge will supplement the Jaguar, Puma and Ocelot density research data gathered by Dr. Marcella Kelly of Virginia Tech who in turn contributes to the WCS Jaguar Conservation Program for the Americas.

We were incredibly excited at the end of March when our cameras captured not one, but two Margay’s on film. Then at mid-afternoon on April 22nd we completed the Felidae ‘Grand Slam’ when a Jaguarundi tripped a camera along one of our trails.
 
Images are in the process of being analyzed to determine how many individuals of each species we have within our five-mile radius study transect. Preliminary research indicates three or possibly four individual Jaguars are present.

In addition to the five cat species (Felidae) our cameras have recorded Baird’s Tapir, Coatimundi, Kinkajou, Gibnut, Red brocket deer, Great Currasow, Collared Peccary and groups of Ocellated Turkey.

While on jungle treks or night walks our guests have also recently observed Mexican porcupine, Mexican Black Howler Monkey, Tapir, Agouti, Stygian Owl and a rare Rufous Morph Vermiculated Screech Owl.

During May our guides will help Ryan Phillips of the Belize Raptor Research Institute gather information on birds of prey such as the Ornate Hawk Eagle and follow up on a possible sighting of the Solitary Eagle close to the lodge.
 
In June our guides at Blancaneaux Lodge will receive 3-days of training by Paul Walker of Wildtracks in order to participate in a CEPF funded amphibian monitoring in the three distinct ecosystems that surround the lodge. The data will contribute toward the IUCN’s Global Amphibian Assessment.

For more information on our wildlife treks, birding excursions and how we’re contributing towards the conservation of the Maya Forest through research: info@coppolaresorts.com or 1-800-746-3743