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Poaching in conservation regions remains big problem

Playa del Carmen, Q.R. — Poaching continues to be a huge problem in Riviera Maya with the continual decline of protected species.

Researchers and activities are concerned about the impact poaching is having on species that are protected in the state of Quintana Roo. Román Weikop, president of the Mexican Organization of Rescue and Rehabilitation of Wildlife A.C. (Orgfas), says that they estimate that between eight and 12 jaguars have already been killed within the first eight months of the year.

He explained that they have a Phototramp monitoring system in place in the jungle that allows them to keep track of animals. Their investigations show that along a perimeter from the Yum Balam Reserve to Tulum between January and August, many of the animals they once tracked are never recorded again.

Weikop says they raised the concern with federal authorities to pay attention to the growing problem.

“It’s a very big latent problem. Our experience has been very strong, since the vast majority of the animals that we have monitored in ‘trap cameras’ to this day are dead.

“They are animals that we do not record again, are of different species and unfortunately include the jaguar. These are animals that, although they travel long distances, usually maintain an area where they live, but these animals are not seen again.”

He added that other state protected species have also been affected by this illegal practice in jungle areas, including the protected perimeters of the northern zone of Quintana Roo.

“We believe that within the monitored specimens eight to 12 jaguars have been killed, as well as whitetail deer, birds hocofaisan (crx rubra) and ocellated turkey as well as musk-hogs,” Weikop said.

Weikop notes that the biological cooridor from Tulum to Yum Balam is supposed to be considered a priority conservation region.