At the end of last year, it was revealed that a puma had been spotted in San Pedro. Â Animal experts and the townÂs mayor, Daniel Guerrero, were quick to respond to peopleÂs concerns and provide advice on keeping safe. Â However, the cat hasnÂt been caught, and sightings continue to come in, with experts giving further advice to residents.
The puma was first sighted on December 20th, when a report came in that the large cat had been seen to the south of San Pedro Town. Â Major Daniel Guerrero contacted the Wildlife Advice Hotline run by the Belize Wildlife Conservation Network (BWCN) as, although those living on Ambergris Caye are proud of their marine and terrestrial wildlife, having a large predator in a residential area was somewhat worrisome.
Working alongside the Forest Department, a team was privately paid to fly out to San Pedro. Â However, unfortunately, when they arrived the puma had vanished. Â Ambergris Caye has a 12,000 acre wildlife reserve on its northern tip that is home to puma, jaguar and other wild cats. Â As such, it is important for the community to work together to ensure that any wildlife straying out of the reserve is dealt with carefully.
Dr. Bart Harmsen, a wildlife expert from Panthera, said: ÂYou are probably wondering if you are in danger from this cat. Â Give a cat room to escape and they will do this. Â It is unlikely that this cat will attack people if not driven into a corner. Â This does not mean you should not be cautious, especially with children and pets. Â If you see the cat, try and stay calm and do not turn your back on it or run away.Â Â He added that if the cat approaches, people should scream and shout, and the puma will run away.
With many people in San Pedro Town still being concerned of the pumaÂs whereabouts, officials are asking residents for help. Â TheyÂve asked that all sighting be personally reported by those who have seen the cat, in order to prevent reports being exaggerated or inaccurate. Â If possible, CCTV and images of the puma are required, as are photographs of any tracks it might leave. Â Any information can be sent to BWCN, either by email or over the telephone.