The jaguar, tapir, caiman and songbirds are now more protected in Costa Rica, thanks to a new law proposed and driven by its own citizens, banning sport hunting of any species.
Costa Rica, known for its reputation for “Eco Tourism”, became the first nation on the continent ban sport hunting this week.
The new Wildlife Act is also the first legislation passed by the mechanism of “popular initiative”, ie it was not submitted to Congress by deputies, but by the citizens themselves.
The rule was brought before the legislature with the initial support of 177,000 signatures collected by the Association for the Preservation of Flora and Fauna (Apreflofas).
Only the signature of President Laura Chinchilla remains before the law goes into full affect.
According to the National System of Conservation (Sinac), last year 1296 were granted hunting licenses, 81 percent of them to kill or capture songbirds.
In addition, there were 171 hunting licenses and 77 to hunt small mammals.
From 2000 until last year, Costa Rican authorities have extended licenses 28,000 hunting but the new law will only permit hunting for subsistence, scientific research and monitoring of species overpopulation.
Those who hunt animals in Costa Rica will be fined up to $ 3,000 and, depending on the species, may even be sentenced to between two and four months in prison.
The custom of having wild animals as pets such as birds, iguanas, monkeys and raccoons also have to changed with the new legislation, which totally prohibits this practice and sets a fine of between $600 and $1,200.
But the law goes further and also sanctioned the export and trafficking of any species of flora or fauna, while creating a National Registry of Wildlife.
The passage of this law is to Costa Rica a step to preserve its image as environmentally friendly country, the main reason that each year receives more than two million who enjoy Costa Rica’s Eco Tourism.
One issue of concern now is how the 572 Rangers who now watch over 13,286 kilometers of protected land (26% of the national total), can cope with the hunters to enforce the law for Costa Rica that hosts almost 5% of the world’s biodiversity.
Category: Costa Rica Environment >> Wildlife Act >> Eco Tourism
The Costa Rica News (TCRN)
San Jose Costa Rica