This year, under the slogan “Partnerships in Favor of Wildlife Conservation“, the United Nations (UN) called last March 3rd, World Wildlife Day, to recognize the work of those who they protect it, and invite us to act together. Consistent with this call, the communities of Linda Vista de Zapote and Hatillo, joined the commitment to conserve wildlife, together with the Embassy of the United Kingdom, the Municipality of San José and more than 20 companies, with the support of the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) and the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT), by joining the Stop Animal Selfies (SAS) campaign.
Let’s remember that #stopanimalselfies is a campaign promoted by the Government of Costa Rica in collaboration with civil society organizations and tourism companies to raise awareness about the negative impacts of selfies and photographs that show direct contact with wild animals; seeks to reduce these cruel behaviors and warn of the possible risks involved.
According to Ronny Rodríguez, interim Minister of Environment and Energy, “According to a 2019 UN report on biodiversity, it is estimated that approximately 1 million species are in danger of extinction on the planet, due to human intervention and to climate change. For which we are grateful to all these people who, on their own behalf or institutionally, have assumed leadership to help face the negative interactions of human activities in our biodiversity”.
“We are excited to be part of this commitment to be able together to recognize and make visible the efforts that are made by the communities in the protection and conservation of biodiversity, which is part of the sum of efforts that we as a country make. Being part of the Stop Animal Selfies Campaign allows us to reflect on the work of communities as actors that contribute to raising awareness among families that are the foundation of society, and in turn, among tourists, hoteliers, tour operators, and merchants”, highlighted Marylin Astorga, from the Linda Vista Community, Zapote.
This date was a good occasion to recognize that wildlife gives us food; cleans our air; and provides us with fuel and shelter. It is the basis of our country’s economy and ensures the maintenance of ecological processes to enjoy a healthy environment, which is directly related to the quality of life of Costa Ricans. In this regard, Rafael Soto, ICT spokesman, stated that, “ICT congratulates the communities and companies committed to the care and conservation of wildlife, since these actions strengthen the country’s sustainable, supportive and equitable tourism development model, which is recognized and respected worldwide”.
It is important to highlight that this group of companies and organizations join more than 30 institutions, companies and organizations at the national level that are committed to respecting and motivating compliance with current regulations that protect Biodiversity, the protection of national and international tourists and promotes good practices to reduce the negative interactions of its activities with wildlife.
However, we still have many problems to address to reduce the loss of wild flora and fauna species in our country, including:
• Unplanned construction of infrastructure (electrocutions, run overs, birds colliding with windows).
• Illegal tourist activities. Hunting and trafficking of species such as sloths, wildlife feeding, inappropriate photographs, as well as illegal entry into Protected Wilderness Areas, among others.
• Urbanism without planning. It includes construction in river and stream protection areas, burning of vacant lots, contamination of rivers and bodies of water, unplanned construction, and poor waste management.
Voices of our allies
“Our international environmental goals could not be achieved without local initiatives like this one –Stop Animal Selfies– which are more directly connected to communities and will therefore drive faster behavior change in favor of nature. This initiative shows us that we are capable of leading, innovating and solving problems that contribute to restoring the delicate balance of our ecosystems”, said British Ambassador, Ben Lyster-Binns.
“We are excited to be part of the StopAnimalSelfies campaign, assuming the commitment to support, from our local government and from our capital city, programs in favor of wildlife conservation, to reduce the negative interactions of human activities with our neighbors. urban wild animals”, indicated Jhonny Araya, Mayor of San José.
“Collaborative and articulated work between different sectors of civil society, academia, and institutions is of vital importance to promote a culture of respect and positive interactions with biodiversity, so last March 3rd, we celebrated these much-needed alliances in favor of our wildlife”, said Andrea Boreal, director of Humane Society International Latin America. “In cities, where the balance between people and wildlife is so complex, awareness of the duty to care for animals, respecting their lives and their spaces, is so important because it allows us to live together healthily and continue enjoying the wonders of our country”, said Miriam Miranda, representative of the project Transition towards an Urban Green Economy – TEVU (the United Nations Development Program, the World Environment Fund and the Organization for Tropical Studies.