Playa del Carmen, Q.R. – Veterinarians have begun circulating an email, condemning the killing of wildlife in an attempt to preserve a local golf course.
The Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (Profepa) has been made aware that the residential community of Playacar has been setting poison to kill coatis to preserve their private golf course. Animal welfare authorities are demanding those in charge of the golf course immediately stop the practice of setting poison.
Profepa has been sent an online complaint saying, “In Playa del Carmen in Playacar Phase 2 they are poisoning coatis to preserve their golf course. Please help by signing our petition to see if we can get it to stop. Nobody has to kill animals.”
Joaquín de la Torre Ponce, project coordinator with the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said they have known since last year that this private group has been setting poison to eradicate the wild species.
“We are categorically against poisoning as a method of population control to any kind of wildlife because it is so cruel. The animal suffers a lot and also brings collateral consequences creating an ecological imbalance,” she said.
Laura Bevilacqua, local veterinarian, noted that there have been at least three cases of domestic dogs being poisoned that are alleged to be the same substance set out to kill the coatis. She also notes that during the past year, there have been numerous dead coatis found on the golf course.
“I have received reports that many coatis have been found dead together on golf courses since last year. People consider them a pest. Many hotels hire fumigation companies to do this kind of thing to eliminate wildlife,” she added.
She explained that in mid-2015, after receiving reports detecting the deaths of the coatis, a group of biologists and veterinarians made a proposal to Playacar management about conducting a study to investigate the population of coatis and possible causes of death. However their offer was received with negativity and the group ignored.
International wildlife representatives along with private veterinarians and researchers agree that this form of animal control is not suitable. They have asked authorities to investigate the Playacar situation to avoid risks to wildlife in general as well as domestic pets and even children who may come across the poisonous substances.
Liane Aké Canto, Environmental director for Solidarity, said he was unaware of the current status of the topic but explained that last year they knew of the situation.
He explained, “The complaint for possible poisoning corresponds with Profepa. I understood that Playacar said they would remove their management plan (to eradicate coatis) with SEMARNAT, but I do not know if they did.”
Coatis are native to many parts of Mexico and are also found in the jungles and rainforests of South America where they live both on the ground and in the trees. The coati is a member of the raccoon family and travel in family packs.