Area (ha):49,475
# Species:353
# Excl Vagrants:353
# Endemics:1
# Near Endemics:1
Species/100 ha:0.7
Habitat: Subtropical rainforest


Cockscomb Basin is a 160 sq. mile forested preserve covering the foothills and Atlantic slope of the Maya Mountains. The preserve was established to protect habitat for the endangered Jaguar and is currently operated by the Belize Audubon Society. The area receives 100-120 inches of rain per year, primarily from June-October. As a result, the rugged terrain, deep gullies, and steep slopes in the preserve are covered with a dense tangle of secondary growth and sub-tropical rainforest.

The thick vegetation is home to a stable population of some 50 Jaguars, secretive nocturnal animals that are rarely seen but regularly heard. Other mammals living in the park include Puma, Ocelot, Jaguarundi, and Margay cats. Howler Monkeys were once common but were extirpated in the mid-60's by over-hunting, yellow fever, and hurricane damage. They have since been re-introduced and are once again thriving in the park.

In addition to mammals, over 300 species of birds have been recorded. By many accounts Cockscomb Basin offers some of the best birding in Belize. Certainly, the most productive times for birding are early morning and late afternoon. Since the gate doesn't open until 7:30 AM, the greatest success can be achieved by staying overnight in the rustic accommodations available inside park boundaries.


Cockscomb Basin Jaguar Reserve is a wildlife preserve located off the Southern Highway in the Stann Creek District of central Belize. It is approximately 2½ hours south of the capital city of Belmopan and some 6 miles west of Maya Center.