The Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is a nature reserve in the Stann Creek District of south-central Belize. It was established to protect the forests, fauna and watersheds of an approximately 400 square kilometre area of the eastern slopes of the Maya Mountains. The reserve was founded in 1990 as the first wilderness sanctuary for the Goldman’s Jaguar (Panthera onca) and is regarded as a premier site for Jaguar preservation in the world.
The name Cockscomb comes from the appearance of the Cockscomb Mountain ridge, that resembles a rooster’s comb, which is situated at the northern fringe of the reserve and which is easily visible from the coastal plain of the Caribbean Sea. Habitation by the ancient Mayas occurred in the Cockscomb Basin as early as 10,000 BC. However, the first modern exploration in recorded history of the basin did not occur until 1888.