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A pair of men seen exploiting toucan as photo opportunity to tourists

Playa del Carmen, Q.R. — Municipal and federal authorities are investigating a pair who have been seen exploiting a toucan by offering tourists a photo opportunity with the bird.

Municipal authorities of the Directorate of Inspection and the Federal Maritime Terrestrial Zone are investigating the exploitation of toucans in Playa del Carmen after public outcry.

The pair have been reported to authorities by both tourists and residents who have seen the bird being offered as a photographic opportunity. The bird is tied to one of the handlers with a thin string to avoid escape. One man places the bird on the shoulder of tourist, while the other man takes the photo.

The two have been seen in different parts of Playa del Carmen including the beach areas of Xcalacoco and the along the dock of Constituyentes Avenue. People have told authorities that the two men walk along the seashore showing the bird and offering  various photographic packages.

Wildlife welfare specialists have said that toucans are under the protection of the Official Mexican Standard (NOM) 059 and that they are on the Danger of Extinction list. Authorities say they need to verify if the men have the proper documentation, which is granted by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, to have possession of the bird.

“The municipality must be responsible for verifying that they have the corresponding documents and that these animals have welfare,” said the specialist.

Gustavo Maldonado Saldaña, commissioner of Environment and Tourism, said they will file a formal complaint before Profepa and make a public pronouncement on the matter.

“I am totally against the exploitation of animals. I will turn to both Semarnat and Profepa, and at the next council session, I will ask to make a public pronouncement against these activities,” he added.