Still no sight of 'jaguar on the loose' in Palo Seco

Hunters Search and Rescue Team leader  Vallence Rambharat searched for a jaguar in  Palo Seco on Tuesday. PHOTO COURTESY HUNTERS SEARCH AND RESCUE TEAM. -
Hunters Search and Rescue Team leader Vallence Rambharat searched for a jaguar in Palo Seco on Tuesday. PHOTO COURTESY HUNTERS SEARCH AND RESCUE TEAM. -

On Tuesday morning, the NGO Hunters Search and Rescue Team, led by Vallence Rambharat, joined the search for a jaguar reportedly spotted in a bushy area in Palo Seco.

For the past few days, game wardens from the Forestry Division of the Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Ministry and South Western Division police have been searching for the "jaguar."

Jaguars are the third largest cats in the world after lions and tigers.

"We are searching areas where the sighting allegedly occurred," Rambharat said.

He said the group could not confirm whether or not thre was a jaguar in the forested area at No 4 Road.

The police said several pawprints were seen on Tuesday, but could not say what animal had made them.

Some residents began to panic after a viral video about a dog being wounded by a jaguar was circulated. However, the owner said no one saw what had attacked the dog, Lucy, early on Wednesday in the yard.

Somehow word spread that a jaguar was responsible, as "a big wild cat was seen lurking in some bushes."

"Residents are taking precautions, like walking less on the road at night. People said the big cats come out more at night, but I have not seen any," a resident told Newsday.

Some speculate that the animal might have been brought into the country illegally from Venezuela.

Members of Hunters Search and Rescue Team gathered in Palo Seco on Tuesday to search for a jaguar that residents fear could be loose in the area. PHOTO COURTESY HUNTERS SEARCH AND RESCUE TEAM -

Ocelots are frequently spotted in Palo Seco, so other people think the creature might be one of them.

On May 3, a jaguar cub and 33 exotic birds and three caimans were rescued from an abandoned campsite in Diego Martin after the police got a tip-off.

On Monday night, Agriculture, Land and Fisheries Minister Kazim Hosein confirmed in a statement that the rescued cub was safely quarantined at Emperor Valley Zoo.

The ministry was aware of the video circulating on social media on the reported sighting of an "exotic animal in south Trinidad."

The Forestry Division said it could not confirm the veracity of the claims.

"However, our officers remain on the ground, vigilant and ready to respond once received reports are confirmed," the statement said.

The ministry urged the public to stop sharing the video and its unsubstantiated claims as it may fuel panic.

Earlier on Monday, Hosein and the Conservator of Forests, Denny Dipchansingh, visited the cub at the zoo.

Hosein commended the game wardens and the police, saying he was relieved the cub had been captured and was being properly quarantined by trained staff at the zoo.

He once again urged people to be more responsible and considerate, as illegal wildlife trade poses a significant threat, as it can bring diseases and viral infections into the country.

He said the ministry remains dedicated to ending the illegal wildlife trade and will continue to work with law-enforcement agencies to tackle the issue.

People with information on illegal animals can call the Wildlife Section of the Forestry Division at 225-3827/3828/3829 and 225-3835


"Still no sight of ‘jaguar on the loose’ in Palo Seco"

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