In the framework of World Wildlife Day, the Ministers of Environment and Energy, Andrea Meza, and of Tourism, Gustavo Segura, urged nations to join together to promote an economic reactivation of the tourism sector focused on the protection of biodiversity and ethical and safe use, seeking a balance between development and international commitments.
The call was made by the Costa Rican authorities to the Central American Commission for Environment and Development (CCAD) of which Costa Rica holds the pro tempore presidency, highlighting the incalculable value of wildlife in the preservation of the planet and the lives of people.
Joint action against wildlife trafficking
Since the region is home to close to 10% of the world’s biodiversity, the pro tempore presidency urged the Central American countries to develop joint regional action to combat the threat posed by wildlife trafficking.
Currently, the country is promoting and leading an international coalition that will seek to establish codes so that interactions between tourists and wildlife are safe and ethical, promoting coexistence between tourist activities and nature.
In this context, the Minister of Environment and Energy (MINAE), Andrea Meza, explained that this initiative already has more than 20 partners at the national level and it is intended to start with a joint work of the Central American countries that have similar challenges in terms of tourism and wildlife management.
Wildlife, a fundamental element
“Wildlife is a fundamental element of our planet, whose value is unquestionable for the survival of humans and the maintenance of ecological balance. Costa Rica is a megadiverse country and a pioneer in the conservation of biodiversity”, said the Minister.
“Its Protected Wild Areas are visited by thousands of Costa Ricans and foreigners to admire its forests, lagoons, beaches, mangroves, rivers and our wild animals. Today we raise our voices to invite nations to take joint actions in favor of a sustainable and responsible economic reactivation with the protection of wildlife”, continued Minister Meza.
For his part, the Minister of Tourism, Gustavo Segura, said that the image that we promote abroad must be consistent with the experience that tourists live when they arrive in the country: “Costa Rica has always stood out in the world for its tourism model whose transversal axis is sustainability; this includes the protection of natural resources, biodiversity and responsible tourism”.
As part of the efforts to conserve biodiversity and in order to promote a green economic reactivation, the MINAE and ICT announced the relaunch of the #StopAnimalSelfies campaign with activities that will take place in the Manuel Antonio, Arenal, Cahuita and Los Quetzales National Parks.
The campaign seeks to motivate national and international tourists to visit our wildlife within their natural environment, or in zoos, in a safe way for both, abiding by the code of ethics for photographs and selfies with wild animals. It is available at www.stopanimalselfies.org
In addition, as part of the reactivation of the campaign during the month of March, a series of activities will be carried out in the national parks in person, -under health protocols-, which will include the presentation of an educational book for minors, webinars for all sectors of society and training for the tourism sector.
Finally, in conjunction with the Ministry of Public Education (MEP), we are working on a training of teachers to promote actions that protect people from contagion of diseases such as COVID-19, or accidents and that the natural behaviors of students are respected. wild animals. This initiative already has the participation of tourism chambers, tourism companies, the National University, non-governmental organizations and German Cooperation.