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Jaguar death is an outrage, is the result of ignorance say ecologists

Playa del Carmen, Q.R. — The death of another jaguar has ecologists and members of the Maya community outraged and looking for the person responsible saying it is the result of ignorance.

Ecologists and members of the Mayan community around Playa del Carmen are in search of answers after the death of another jaguar. The latest incident occurred several days ago when a 3-year-old male was found dead with numerous bullet wounds.

Aniceto Caamal Cocom, founder of the Centro de Salvaguarda de Usos y Costumbres, says these deaths occur from the ignorance of people who do not understand the species is in danger of extinction.

“Unfortunately there is a lot of ignorance among the ranches, a group who do not know that this animal is sacred and that it has a great importance within the ecosystem. It is necessary to put signage in those places and make a campaign of deep awareness beyond what is done in the city. It is necessary in the ranches,” he explained.

He says there are fewer and fewer jungle spaces for jaguar circulation, adding that in Playa del Carmen, a lot of it is due to the disappearance of forest to make way for real estate development projects that in the end, affect the habitat of these felines not only in the region, but throughout the southeast of Mexico.

According to Hermelindo Be Cituk, coordinator of the National Indigenous Assembly for Autonomy, the jaguar is an important priority in Mayan beliefs.

“We talked about this issue a few days ago when we learned about the death of the male. We are concerned about what is happening in this town. It is necessary that institutions look for ways to protect the species because there are few left,” he said.

On March 31, a jaguar hide was seized at the port of Tizimín, Yucatán by the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection. The seizure came after a complaint was filed by the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas.

Photo: Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection

The hide was discovered in mid-tanning process, implying it was a recent kill. Upon inspection, environmental officers found the hide had 12 bullet holes as well as puncture marks on the head and neck. Due to its size, authorities said the hide was that of a full adult male.

The Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection filed an official criminal report against the person carrying the hide for the death of an endangered species. It is possible to be sentenced up to nine years in prison for killing an animal listed as in endangered in Mexico.

In March, the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas announced that Mexico plans to create a tri-national reserve with Belize and Guatemala to protect the jaguar.