Several persons have asked me to write about wild animals, I mean large animals that roam the bushes of Ambergris Caye. I’ll be honest; I’m no expert on this but I will try. The bush experts that I know were don Juan Verde, “Charlie” Marcial Cardenez, and Guadalupe Cardenez, who were the hunters of their time. Then there is Mr. Jose Gonzalez and Gaby Perez who have been the number one hunters up until this day along with Sammy Gonzalez.
It is from these persons that I have learned that there is quite a large population of wild deer up in the Basil Jones area. These grow up to three and four feet tall and one of them provides quite a good amount of venison, ideal for soups, stews, gravy or even smoked barbecue. In the same area there is another large population of wild pigs, the peccary. These grow up to 50 or 60 pounds and if you can put up with the stench while processing, you can end up with quite some fine pork for your dishes. Sammy tells me that there are a lot of wild turkeys in the area as well. In fact he has promised me some for me to sample (still waiting).
Finally I want to tell you that apart from snakes, there are also fairly large tigers on the island. They are smaller than the mainland tigers. “Tigrillos” or little tigers they are called, but some years ago by Fido’s Ranch, the caretaker there shot one that was quite large. Then there are the crocodiles that were in the wild at one time but they have now become suburban and even urban. These were killed for their skin, which was sold to Mexican traders who used them for belts, shoes, and ladies’ bags. Finally there were and still are hundreds of small raccoons that grow wild and have also become suburban turning over all the trash bins in search of left over fried chicken and chips.
It is common knowledge that these animals came from the Mexican mainland. They were able to cross the narrow and shallow Bacalar Chico River which separates us from the Mexican peninsula that leads to Quintana Roo and Yucatan. Except for the cows which were wild 100 years ago, all the others are still present on the Island.
– by Angel Nuñez, Columnist