For my master's thesis, I worked on a multi-faceted jaguar conservation project in the Mayan village of Blue Creek, Belize. Through the use of camera traps and track plotting, I investigated jaguar habitat selection and activity patterns over a 25 sq. mile study area centered around the village. Additionally, I interviewed residents of Blue Creek to obtain a better understanding of the human-jaguar interactions that take place, as well as to find out the overall attitude of the residents towards jaguars.
The results of the project were astounding! We were able to successfully document seven individual jaguars from 35 camera trap photographs within the boundaries of a single Maya village, suggesting that jaguars in this region may be more tolerant to human activity than previously thought. Additionally, we observed interesting temporal behavioral patterns from the jaguars in this area. Although jaguars are typically a nocturnal species, the jaguars in Blue Creek were mostly active during the day. To make things even more interesting, we often observed jaguars traversing along trails that villagers use daily, sometimes within minutes of each other! The results from this study have been published, and you can read the entire article HERE.