The dark forest is alive with the sounds of night. The urgent trotters of snuffling peccary pigs tramp the soft soil, when a wave of silence falls heavy over the bustling evening. All is still.
A hundred black eyes ringed with white flicker in and out of the dense foliage. Four huge, clawed paws pad noiselessly out towards the lake edge. Stooping low on her muscled haunches, the powerful feline drops her head and takes a long drink. The moonlight shatters and ripples across the water as drops fall from her thirsty jaws. Her eyes, alert, scan the bank for dinner.
The mighty Jaguar is the largest wildcat found in the Americas and can weigh up to 100 kilos. Jaguars are fierce predators, known to have the strongest bite of any cat, and the name jaguar comes from an ancient South American word meaning he who kills with one blow.
To the ancient civilisations of Mexico; the Olmecs, the Mayans and the Aztecs, the jaguar was worshipped as a deity. Because of its ability to see in the night, they believed that jaguars were able to move between worlds. The jaguar was a being of the stars and the earth. In the Mayan mythology, the jaguar was the ruler of the Underworld. And, at the Temple of the Jaguar in Chichen Itza, the king would walk beneath a carved procession of jaguars to his coronation.
In Mexico, they can be found in the Lacandon jungle along the southern border with Guatemala, but they are so stealthy that they are rarely seen. Despite their elusive nature, they are under constant threat from poachers looking to sell their patterned, glossy coats for fur.
Traditionally, the jaguar has represented power, ferocity and wisdom as well as protection from evil. Still today, the mystery and elegance of these reserved cats inspires respect and wonder. Guests of Ella Canta will find a jaguar motif throughout the restaurant. The emblem was chosen by Chef Martha Ortiz for its symbolism – a fascinating creature representing strength and feline beauty. Roused by the reverence they were granted by the ancient civilisations, it is our duty to make sure that their noble existence is protected for many generations to come.