||This analysis, a component of Panthera's Jaguar Corridor Initiative, incorporated
184 interviews with local hunters and farmers in a site occupancy framework to determine
the likelihood of jaguar and jaguar prey occupancy in 90 16-km2 grid cells in the
Toledo District of southern Belize. This output was compared with that of Maxent,
a presence-only species distribution modeling technique, to determine if both approaches
led to similar conclusions.
Site occupancy analysis revealed that jaguar occupancy was associated with percent
daily chance of seeing armadillo, higher elevation, and proximity to protected areas
and forest cover. Prey species analysis revealed that likelihood of white-lipped peccary
(Pecari tajacu) occupancy was associated with greater forest cover and proximity to
protected areas and water/wetlands; collared peccary (Tayassu pecari) occupancy with
greater forest cover and proximity to agriculture and settlements; red brocket deer
(Mazama americana) occupancy with greater forest cover, proximity to agriculture,
and higher elevation; and armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) occupancy with greater
agricultural area, lower elevation, and greater distance from water/wetland. Site
occupancy models were unable to be fitted for the paca (Agouti paca) and white-tailed
deer (Odocoileus virginianus) populations. Following the weighting of jaguar output
to 2.0 and prey species output to 1.0, total Psi (probability of occupancy) was calculated
for each of the 90 grid cells. Cells with the maximum possible Psi value (meaning
that the jaguar and all modeled prey species were present) were identified, and the
final cells were chosen from this subset based on having relatively low future threat.
These cells were cross-checked with Maxent output to ensure that the corridor contained
areas of high habitat suitability.
The proposed corridor extends along the eastern flank of the Toledo District and connects
Sarstoon-Temash National Park with the protected areas of local NGOs TIDE (Toledo
Institute for Development and Environment) and YCT (Ya’axche Conservation Trust).
The analysis concludes with recommendations and concerns specific to the communities
that fall within the corridor.