Hundreds of stingrays mutilated in Sonora allegedly to “protect tourists” during Semana Santa

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HUATABAMPO, SONORA.- Due to the expected flow of tourists on the beaches of Huatabampo, Sonora, the municipal government decided to remove their sting from hundreds of rays under the excuse of “protecting tourists” from possible pickets.

Elizabeth Guerrero Moreno, the coordinator of Ecology, also justified the decision by arguing that these marine animals do not suffer damage because the stingers regenerate over time, according to local media reports.

This decision was criticized by environmental organizations and activists, who filed a complaint with the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (Profepa) for this act of animal cruelty.

Ecologists also denounce this practice as a violent custom in Huatabampo. Even for four years, there has been a petition on Change.org with more than 10,000 signatures to stop the mutilation of rays.

Since then, environmental organizations have fought to eradicate this custom.

Ecology coordinator dismissed

Through a post on Facebook, the Huatabampo city council announced the dismissal of Elizabeth Guerrero Moreno for having made the “unilateral” decision to mutilate the rays. 

The municipal government indicated that it will not allow attacks against marine species under the justification of “previous customs.”

“We are at the disposal of the requirements of the Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (PROFEPA) agency that is dealing with the complaint that was filed by environmentalists and with all sense of responsibility, we will abide by the result of its official opinion “, read in the post.


Likewise, the municipality announced that the government of Sonora will send a marine biologist from the General Directorate for Animal Protection and Welfare “to make an in-depth evaluation of the situation and provide us with training schemes to definitively avoid this type of situation.”

Why is a stingray important?

A ray’s sting helps it defend itself against predators and other dangers. The stinger is located at the base of the tail and contains a series of glands that produce a poisonous toxin.

The sting toxin has been used in traditional medicine for centuries, and some studies have shown that certain substances contained in this venom may have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. The use of stingray venom in the production of medicines for diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s has also been investigated.

However, contact with a stingray can be dangerous to humans. A bite causes intense pain, inflammation, and other symptoms that can last for excruciating minutes and even hours.

What is the difference between rays and manta rays?

Both species belong to the cartilaginous fish, which in turn are of the order Myliobatiformes.

Manta rays are much larger than rays, they can reach up to 7 meters across and weigh over 1 ton, while rays are generally smaller, rarely exceeding 2 meters across.

Another notable difference is their shape: manta rays have a diamond-shaped body with lateral fins that spread out like wings, while rays have a more traditional fish-like shape with smaller dorsal and pectoral fins.

Also, manta rays tend to inhabit deeper waters and feed mainly on plankton, while rays tend to live in shallower waters and feed on crustaceans and other marine invertebrates