Phase 1 of our project is complete as of 12/31/2019:

We gathered thousands of images of a variety of wildlife in central and southern Belize to analyze the health of the ecosystems and determine the severity of human - wildlife conflict.

Phase 2 of our project is two-fold:

1. The effects agroforestry has on the tree-dwelling margay- Agroforestry is the process of incorporating a variety of plant life in with crop fields to mimic a 'mini jungle' and in turn create a larger yield of produce for local farmers. A tree that is currently being  added to crop fields is the cacao. The cacao seeds can be processed to make chocolate to be sold for income. BFREE currently has 3 cacao crops in different stages. There is a mature cacao field, one that has just been planted and one in the process of being cleared of suffocating brush in order to plant cacao. We have had our cameras in all 3 areas for the past two years to get a baseline of wildlife activity. We are now going to focus on putting cameras inside the cacao fields at various heights and locations to see if adding different tree heights to agroforestry creates a bridge between untouched jungle areas. Our focus will be on tree dwelling mammals, like the margay. Are they utilizing these 'mini jungles' or avoiding them, and why? Once data has been collected we will brainstorm with the team members of BFREE to make improvements on agroforestry practices that will entice tree dwelling mammals to utilize agroforestry areas.

2. Belize Central Wildlife Corridor - Belize sits nestled between Mexico and Guatemala and is an integral part of the wildlife corridors that allow animals to migrate between Mexico and South America to mate and maintain strong bloodlines. Within Belize, there are three corridors, the northern, central and southern corridors. Unfortunately due to population increase and tourism, the central corridor has been almost deleted of its wildlife. People have been working hard to purchase pieces of this land to dedicate to conservation. We are working with NGOs and fellow conservationists on this massive project. There are multiple moving parts to this project, with the end result being a protected re-introduction of native wildlife to the area. Our contribution to this project is to use our trail cameras to get a baseline of wildlife activity in the area and then to continue our trail camera use so the team can make sure they are re-introducing wildlife into the area in the correct predator/prey ratio to ensure a healthy ecosystem. 

Parent Company: Jungle Encounters

                  501(c)3    EIN #82-2129994

Belize is home to 5 species of wild cats:

Parent Company: Jungle Encounters

501(c)3   EIN #82-2129994

Belize is a country about the size of Massachusetts and is located in Central America along the caribbean coast. It is an English speaking country and is fairly safe to travel in.  The human population is mainly in three cities and along the coast, leaving the mountainous interior somewhat untouched and wild. This untouched area serves as a wildlife corridor for animals to travel between southern Mexico and Central America.

Like other developing countries Belize is feeling the stress of population increase which in turn destroys the wild habitat range. The main source of income for most Belizeans is farming. To make more money to support their families they are slashing and burning more jungles. This is where the issue lies......and that is why we are gathering credible data and working with the local government and villages to practice mutually beneficial conservation plans to help ensure Belize's wildlife remains wild with plenty of habitat to live in and expand on.

The Belize Wild Cat Research Project:

The jaguar, puma, ocelot, margay and jaguarundi. These 5 species of cats have learned to co-exist in the same area by eating different prey and keeping out of each others way. Such a large variety of cats in such a small geographical area is amazing!

Each species plays a vital role in maintaining healthy prey density, with the smaller cats controlling rodent populations. Rodents carry diseases that can be transferred to humans and rodents eat a lot of plant life. If the rodent population were to skyrocket due to the absence of small wild cats, plant life would dwindle and diseases would run rampant.

Successful conservation practices all have 1 common factor - credible data. Our credible data comes from the thousands of trail camera images we are getting showing the populations of predators and prey, areas being slashed/burned and jungle areas still in tact.

We are utilizing this data for community outreach programs and inviting the local villages to get involved in protecting the wildlife they share their land with.

To learn more about our methodology for this project, click here.

To read the research papers we have written, click here.