The Yalbac forest (Figure 1: Location) currently covers approximately 162,160 acres (65,625 ha) and is contiguous with the 27,950 acre (11,3103 ha) Gallon Jug estate, the 105,260 acre (42,600 ha) Laguna Seca LLC (immediately north of Yalbac), and the approximately 260,000 acres (106,000 ha), of the RBCMA (plus the 15,750 acres or 5,970ha of the smaller Aguas Turbias National Park, the Spanish Creek Wildlife Sanctuary) and the 9,200 acre (3,720 ha) Labouring Creek Jaguar Corridor Wildlife Sanctuary, this Belizean forest block in its turn is contiguous with that of Calakmul in Mexico and the Maya Biosphere Reserves in Guatemala and thus creating a forest bloc of at least 4 million acres (1.6 million ha), the largest remaining forest area in Central America (Figure 2).
As such, the Yalbac has been assessed as an important area to maintain biological connectivity, diverse landscapes and as a repository for endangered or threatened species (Meerman et al 2000, Meerman 2005).
In 2010/2011, the Yalbac area was hit hard by the effects of Hurricane Richard and subsequent wildfires.
The Yalbac and Laguna Seca is jointly owned by Yalbac Belize LLC and Heartwood Forestland Fund of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Yalbac's primary operations relates to the management and harvest of approximately 20 commercial timber species for local and export markets. Yalbac is one of the first Belizean operations FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified in its management of the forest resources and as such sawn timber from Yalbac is marketable across the globe even in the most regulated eco-sensitive countries relating to conservation principals.
As part of the FSC certification, Yalbac has initiated a wildlife monitoring program in order to verify that the timber operations do not negatively affect the endangered and/or sensitive species that naturally occur in the area. Monitoring has started in early 2013 and is still being expanded, and since 2016 it is monitored in conjunction with the Laguan Seca Forest.
The main focus is on sensitive fauna elements which are most efficiently being monitored by permanently operating a number of wildlife camera's. Currently there are 12 camera's and a selection of pictures taken by these is presented here (click on an image to enlarge).
Cameras have been operated since May 2013 here are pictures up to January, 2018. The sequence is more or less by date. Youngest pictures are on top.
Jaguar Mother with a single cub at Yalbac Forest in January 2018
A whole cluster of eyes! Mother Opossum with babies on her back.
Ruddy Quail Dove
Great Curassow Females are always fascinated by the cameras
Ocellated Turkey Courting
Paca (known as Gibnut in Belize)
Tapir with juvenile
Ocellated Tureky mother with chicks
Crested Guans - close up
A few months ago I asked "Does a mountain lion crap in the woods?", and yes again...they do! Several researcher have mentioned that Mountain Lions react to cameras by defecating in front of them!
Another Puma or Mountain Lion
This Jaguar walked under the camera
And then plonked down
Was this also a reaction to the camera?
He stayed no more than a minute
Tapir walking under the camera
Margay walking under the camera
Jaguar with missing tail. This is an individual that has been seen in the area for some years now. Three years ago it still had a tail (pers.com. Marcella Kelly)
Puma enters the scene
Seconds later, nr 2 enters
High-tailed victory! Territorial fight or just play?
Full filed view of White-tailed Deer Buck
Sure, lick the lens!
Jaguarundi. Probably the rarest cat in Yalbac
Someone in a clean shirt using a machette
As always; some unexpected results, see the tarantuala at the bottom left corner?
Multispecies: White-tailed Deer and Currasow
Its unusual to get non-human primates on the camera. Here a female Black-handed Spidermonkey(Ateleles geoffroyi with young
Here probably the same female Black-handed Spidermonkey(Ateleles geoffroyi with young. This section of the forest has been heavilly impacted by Hurricane Richard and subsequent wildfires. It was actually thought that Spidermonkeys would have been locally extirpated from this location, but these pictures actually provide hope for a recovery of the species.
No animal here but the light spot on the bottom right is a shoot of Bracken fern (Pteridium caudatum) that is growing up in front of the camera lens. Note the time. It's 4.59 PM (but time stamp not correct)
Next day 10.33 AM, 18 hours later. The shoot has already past the field of view of the camera
More fern growing up in front of the lens (always bad), look at the small shoot at the middle bottom
22.5 hr later
27 hr after the previous picture
Another 24 hr later the shoot is out of the field of view.