Biologists have managed to snag some stunning footage of a young jaguar mother and her two cubs in Belize.
“The cubs were the smallest we’d ever captured on camera,” Bart Harmsen, a researcher at the University of Belize blogged recently on Panthera‘s website. The New York-based organization is dedicated to conservation of wild cats and their habitats.
The jaguars walked by the camera traps in Belize’s Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary in July, just before Hurricane Earl hit the country.
— PantheraCats (@PantheraCats) August 26, 2016
“Did they survive?” Harmsen wondered. “Would the mother still be able to provide for them?”
After the storm, researchers were eventually able to move farther into the backcountry to assess the damage and cameras.
“More footage revealed she was alive—and so was at least one of her cubs. Other footage revealed pumas courting and jaguars walking trails as they normally do. An older female was joined by her grown male cub,” Harmsen wrote.
But for how long? The hurricane laid a swath through the forest ecosystem, which is a “stronghold” for jaguars. What will it do to as some “prey populations” may collapse without food.
“We can’t be sure what will happen next, but we do know this jaguar paradise could be in trouble—and we need to do everything we can to protect it,” Harmsen concluded.
Photos Panthera/UB ERI/Belize Audubon Society/Belize Forest Department