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Cozumel vets release racoon after surgery to remove plastic bottle from deformed leg

Cozumel, Q.R. — After more than three weeks of veterinary care, the staff of the Ecology sub-directorate of Cozumel released a dwarf raccoon back into the wild. The racoon was captured on December 15 after a citizen reported the animal as being injured.

When authorities located the racoon, they saw it had the top or mouthpiece of a plastic bottle around one of its front legs. Head of the ecology dependency, Germán Yánez, explained that the mouthpiece of plastic had caused the racoon’s leg to grow deformed.

Germán Yañez explained that on December 7, they received the complaint via a message on Facebook “where in photos and videos, a raccoon was observed with the nozzle of a plastic bottle stuck on one of its front legs which, when growing, had deformed the limb by preventing circulation.”

He said over several attempts, the racoon was finally captured on December 15. On that same day, the racoon was taken to technical zoo veterinarian, Raúl Rosado Salazar, who is part of the environmental surveillance committee and is certified to care for wild animals.

The racoon was released after three weeks in recovery to remove the plastic bottle

Veterinary intervention was successful in removing the plastic ring from the leg, where it is believed to have been for several years as the racoon grew. “He underwent surgery to remove the plastic ring, then he was in recovery for more than three weeks until he was returned to his natural habitat,” he said.

When released, authorities watched as he slowly left the cage then headed up a tree, which they said, displayed good health.

The male racoon, of the Procyon pygmaeus species, weighed three kilos and is estimated to be four years old. He was named Rocket during his care.

Germán Yáñez said that this is an example of how the garbage that ends up in the environment is a problem for many spices, which is why he announced that garbage cans will be placed in the lagoon area near Isla de la Pasión where the racoon was found.