Angry locals want to know: Who is responsible for killing a rare toucan in Tizimín?

Toucans have become a rare sight in Yucatán, despite the fact that they are endemic to the peninsula. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Toucans have become a rare sight in Yucatán despite the fact that they are native to the Peninsula. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

A woman in Tizimín has denounced the senseless killing of a Keel-billed toucan.

Mauris Febles posted allegations on Facebook that unidentified men purposefully attacked and killed the bird with a slingshot.

“It makes me so sad and angry to see how such a beautiful and endangered bird was killed, and for no reason at all. There must be severe consequences for people who do such things, it’s really unforgivable,” said Febles.

It is likely that those responsible for killing the toucan were trying to capture it to sell it. On the black market, healthy toucans can fetch upwards of $8,000 USD.

In August 2020, a man was detained in Tizimín after he was found to be in possession of a live toucan. The man did not have any documentation to prove his legal possession of the bird, so the animal was seized and the suspect was detained.

Unfortunately, such incidents are not limited to Tizimín. The killing of Tuqui, a toucan that became a celebrity in Merida’s Francisco de Montejo neighborhood, caused an uproar on social networks. In this case, the bird was found to have been killed by wounds suffered as a result of being shot with a pellet gun.

Earlier: Killing of a beloved wild toucan enrages neighborhood

Toucans are native to Yucatán but have become endangered due to a loss of habitat and poaching. 

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, several toucan sightings have been reported across the state. It is speculated that the slowing of human activity has allowed several species to re-emerge into several areas of the state. 

Other animal sightings have included greater amounts of deer, tapirs, and the toucan’s smaller relative, the toucanet — often confused with infant toucans. 

In June 2020, a toucan nicknamed Mariano was first spotted in Mexico City. However, in this case, it is likely that the bird escaped captivity. Amazed onlookers photographed Mariano and posted their photos on social media. The pictures have been shared thousands of times and received millions of likes.  

Most Mexicans are likely to go their entire lives without seeing a wild toucan. The bird is considered iconic and its image is found on the labels of many everyday products, as well as Mexico’s National Green Party.

Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway.