State authorities have announced that they have kicked off an effort to clear stray dogs from Chichén Itzá.
The move comes a few weeks since a dog climbed Kukulcán’s pyramid and focused attention on the ever-growing number of strays at the site.
Onlookers seemed quite amused at the site, and the event even made national news but was somewhat of an embarrassment for the INAH.
Authorities say that once apprehended, the dogs will be given a medical checkup and will then be sterilized with help from several animal rights organizations.
Animals, including pets, are not allowed on the grounds of any archaeological site in Mexico. The animals that do make it through do so through the surrounding jungle, not the main gate.
Chichén Itzá strays are likely attracted to the archaeological site by the smell of food which is gleefully offered up by dog-loving tourists.
Stray dogs are a common sight in Yucatán and in some communities, like Progreso, have become a considerable health concern.
As a result, many city governments, animal rights groups, local volunteers, and expats have joined forces to address the problem through sterilization campaigns and adoption programs.
“During the pandemic, many people adopted animals only to abandon them after the novelty wore off. Some perhaps not feeling it safe to walk their dogs chose to just let them go instead of having them confined in their homes,” said Progreso’s subdirector of ecology, Mabel Eugenia Aguirre Quinto.
Out of concern for the integrity of the Chichén Itzá’s ancient structures, climbing its monuments was prohibited over a decade ago.