The peaceful, picturesque town of Flores, Guatemala, has been in a state of near-panic since Christmas, owing to the sudden appearance of thousands of ferrets. Local people say the ferrets have been drawn out of the surrounding forests by the presence of over thirty models participating in a nude pictorial for the Spanish-language edition of Playboy. Nearby Lake Peten-Itza, known for its colorful flowers, palm trees, tropical birds, and marvelous rock formations, has been used frequently by photographers and film-makers, but no ferret invasion has ever occurred before.
“It’s the naked women! They are making the ferrets crazy!” says local Chief of Police Gustavo Marin.
The town’s officials originally welcomed the nude photo shoot, believing it would be good publicity for a town whose primary industry is cigarettes. Now they feel they have made a mistake, and they are blaming the magazine for the crisis.
Experts are not in agreement as to whether the ferret invasion is related to the presence of the models. Professor Manuel de Calderon of the Universidad de Guatemala believes that the ferrets’ highly developed sense of smell has been aroused by female pheromones given off by the models. But Dr. Hector Samoza of the Ministry of the Interior says there is no evidence for this. Instead, he cites previous instances of sudden movements of animals prior to volcanic eruptions and fears a possible eruption of a new volcano in the area around Flores.
Several models have been attacked in their tents at night by the ferrets. Nancy Augusto, 22, of Huehuetenango, was bitten on the breast, and Andrea Carmel, 23, of Jalapa, was clawed on the legs. Neither injury was serious. No local residents have been attacked, but the presence of the ferrets has prevented many people from going out.
A spokesman for the Spanish-language edition of Playboy said the photo shoot would continue because it would be too expensive to move to another location. The models and crew are scheduled to complete their work by January 4th.
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