Costa Rica Declares National Mourning for Wild Felines Run Over on Tico Roads

    As a way of raising awareness on the importance of their conservation

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    The authorities of Costa Rica established this past Monday a duel within the framework of the National Day of the Wild Feline, in order to make the population aware by counting 34 of these animals run over on the country’s roads so far in 2022.

    The Ministry of Environment and Energy detailed that the 34 wild cats killed by cars this year are 1 jaguar, 1 caucel, 2 pumas, 6 jaguarundis and 24 ocelots, which corresponds to 5 of the 6 species that inhabit Costa Rica. The only species of which run over individuals are not counted is the ocelot.

    “Costa Rica is home to just over 6% of the planet’s biodiversity. We are all called to avoid the problem of animal deaths on our roads”, said the Deputy Minister of Environment and director of the System of Conservation Areas (Sinac), Rafael Gutiérrez.

    Redoubling efforts towards conservation

    Puma, one of the mammal species that you may watch in Corcovado National Park

    The official commented that the Day of the Wild Feline is a celebration that should make the population reflect on human actions that put these species at risk and for the State to redouble efforts towards conservation.

    A vital role

    For her part, the representative of the feline protection organization Panthera Costa Rica, Daniela Araya, explained that “these are species of great importance for the conservation of ecosystems, since they play a vital role as large predators, mainly the puma and the jaguar, and generally require large areas of forest to survive”.

    “Protecting these carnivores also means protecting the country’s biodiversity and the health of our ecosystems. Our conservation actions focused on these species have a multiplier effect,” she said. On this day, the authorities made a call for drivers to identify and respect the traffic signs that warn of the passage of fauna and slow down to avoid these accidents.

    Official data indicates that since 2010 in Costa Rica 38 lower wildlife crossings have been installed (under the roads) and there are another 43 under construction. However, the country does not have specific steps for wild felines, which have other specifications, especially size.

    Data from the organization Vías Amigables con la Vida Silvestre have recorded a total of 517 sightings of wild felines on the roads of Costa Rica since 2012, of which 11% correspond to sightings only and 89% to being run over. Of the felines run over, only 3% have managed to survive.

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