By Mikey Jones
A photographer has finally captured his dream shot of a Jaguar in a cave – after FOUR YEARS of trying.
As the beast has heart-shaped markings, he decided to nickname him Romeo.
Jamen Percy, 35, has been trying to snap a rare shot of the cat lurking in a Mayan cave since 2013.
After years of calamities, including a flood destroying his camera, Jamen finally pulled it off.
He managed to take photos of the young male jaguar returning from a night of hunting to sleep at 7am.
To capture his dream shot the keen nature photographer travelled to Central America and fitted his camera equipment inside an ancient Mayan limestone cave, which was only discovered the year before.
Jamen, who works in digital advertising and design, said: “It began in 2013 when I started building a full scale system after visiting to see the caves and meet the rangers.
“It has been a long journey of trials and tribulations since.
“The first year we had the camera too far into a chamber of the cave and the cats didn’t visit that chamber often enough.
“We moved it to an animal trail we tracked through the cave but after we set it up there the cave flooded, destroying the camera system.
“It may have taken four years to get the first few shots but we have perfected the art now. The rangers’ prediction of the jaguars trail was absolutely spot on, enabling a perfect shot.
“As the pictures show, the jaguar walks in, looks around then strolls through naturally with no worries.
“The rangers studied his markings they discovered a perfect heart-shaped marking. We decided to name him Romeo.”
To get there Jamen embarked on a gruelling hike through thick jungle, grasslands and a water crossing during the wet season.
He was aided by guide Reynold, who grew up in the jungle and learnt jungle craft from his grandfather.
Jamen said: “The humidity is stifling. Mist pours out of the mountains when the sun comes out. It’s like running a two hour marathon each way in a sauna.
“I wanted to photograph jaguars, but in a unique way. I felt too restricted going about the usual method of cruising up and down the Pantanal river in Brazil with a long lens, looking for jaguars hunting on the shorelines.
“I decided a camera trap was going to be my method. I began to search around for a national park that would be interested in my project and as soon as I found one that mentioned they had recently discovered giant caves with jaguar paw prints through them, I was packing my bags.”