Shipstern Nature Reserve, due to its remoteness, still harbours an astonishing diversity of wildlife. Of the five cat species of Belize, which are all found in the reserve, Ocelots, Margays and Pumas are the most commonly observed. Jaguars and Jaguaroundis are more secretive. The endangered Baird’s Tapir, which is regularly seen at the Xo-Pol Ponds (see map), still seems to hold its own in the area.
Shipstern Lagoon is home to many shore and wetland birds, such as the Roseate Spoonbill, the Boat-billed Heron, the endangered Reddish Egret, the American Woodstork, the White Ibis, the rare Black Catbird and many more. Deep in the forests, the Rainbow Toucan, the Yellow-headed and Yucatan Parrots, and unique species such as the Yucatan Woodpecker, find refuge and breeding grounds. Shipstern is also of prime importance for over-wintering migratory species from North America.
Finally, Shipstern is home to an astonishing diversity of other animals. Reptiles and amphibians number over 70 species, whereas the butterflies are represented by more than 270 species !