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Environmental task force in Quintana Roo rescues 12 endangered species — including a baby jaguar

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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. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
A rescued turtle was detected in a cardboard box while smugglers attempted to fly it to Guadalajara. Photo: Courtesy

Authorities in Quintana Roo have announced the rescue of 12 endangered species.

The exotic animals were rescued from illegal captivity and included jaguars, howler monkeys, and crocodiles. 

According to reports by the Profepa, all signs suggest that these animals were illegally bred in captivity, making their release into the wild nearly impossible. 

“We will be moving these specimens to a special facility for now, but we will have to come up with a longer-term solution soon,” said a Profepa spokesperson..

In the past, rescued exotic animals have often ended up in city zoos in Mérida, Chetumal, and Tizimín. 

Though these facilities are already oversaturated and underfunded, few other options appear viable.

Earlier: Tiger cub discovered inside a box at Mérida’s airport

The trade and breeding of exotic species in the Yucatán Peninsula is a growing concern.

During the past year, several instances of smuggling have been detected in airports both in Mérida and Cancún.

This young tiger is but one of the several exotic animals recently discovered by authorities in Mérida’s airport. Photo: Courtesy

The most commonly trafficked types of species include exotic birds and reptiles, though cases involving other animals such as armadillos and large wildcats are also fairly common. 

While many of these animals are ultimately smuggled abroad or kept as pets, others are bred for their eggs, feathers, or in the cases of turtles, for their shells

But the problem is not limited to Yucatán. Last February, members of the national guard in Mexico City secured 75 iguanas, 34 turtles, a boa constrictor snake, and a tarantula which were being smuggled in four pieces of luggage.

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