Parrots, turtles, snakes and iguanas are part of the wild animals protected by the Wildlife Conservation Law in Costa Rica, therefore, their possession in homes is illegal. According to the Vice Minister of the Environment, Rafael Gutiérrez, they should not simply be released, they are animals that need to live in rescue centers with the help of professionals.
“Ideally, a person who has these animals as a pet can go to a nearby Sinac office for a voluntary surrender and seek a certified shelter to help them. Because here the problem is that by having them in captivity they lose their natural condition to search for food and move, so it is condemning the animal,” he explained.
While the way to prevent an animal from being taken by the pólice fromyour home, such as some types of birds, is to check that it was not taken from its natural habitat. And it is that the Law not only protects animals, but also the extraction of flora, considered the action of collecting or extracting wild plants, in natural or altered environments.
A national heritage
“Wildlife is national heritage, we must see animals as belonging to all of us and therefore we must take care of them by leaving them free and helping to protect their environments. An animal was not born to be in a cage, from the ministry we work with the communities to raise awareness about the importance of not domesticating these animals,” said Gutiérrez.
Some types of birds are illegal to keep at home, people must verify that they do not come from nature (Sinac). Voluntary surrender is mentioned because in the event of a complaint the authorities can make seizures in homes, in the same way they are carried out on the roads.
“For the holiday season we always implement road controls, for example, at Easter there is a lot of illegal fishing in rivers in protected areas. Hunting is prohibited, the law does not allow it, people must understand that so that they do not fall into this series of crimes that can lead to jail,” said the vice minister.
And it is that, depending on the seriousness of the facts presented before the prosecutors, the sentence can range from a fine to jail time. In Costa Rica, the regions that present the greatest challenge for the authorities are the rural ones, for example, this year in Guatuso there have been 368 seizures and in Los Chiles 176.