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 as a “green destination”, this week became the first nation on the continent to close the doors to lovers of hunting.
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 new law only allows subsistence hunting cases, scientific research and monitoring of species in overpopulation. 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).
To enter into force only remains the signature of President Laura Chinchilla, because Monday was approved on second and final debate in Congress by unanimous vote of the 42 members (out of 57) present at the meeting.
Since its entry into force, Costa Rica will not grant more licenses for hunting and its citizens can not have wild animals as pets.
According to the National System of Conservation (Sinac), last year 1296 hunting licenses were granted , 81% 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 28,000 hunting licenses, an activity that will be forgotten now, because the new law only permitted in cases of subsistence, scientific research and monitoring of species in overpopulation.
Fines and imprisonment for offenders Those who hunt an animal 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 change with the new legislation, which totally prohibits this practice and sets a fine of between 600 and 1,200 dollars.
But the law in Costa Rica goes further and also sanctioned the export and trafficking of any species of flora or fauna, while creating a National Registry of Wildlife.
That file zoos and reserves, both public and private, must register the specimens kept in captivity, after presenting a management plan.
Those who hunt an animal in Costa Rica will be fined up to $ 3,000. The text was supported by all political parties in Congress except the Libertarian Movement, who opposes the ban on hunting. The fiercest enemy of the proposal was the deputy Ernesto Chavarria, who went on to state that the law makes equal rights of human beings and animals. His position was not shared by other legislators as Claudio Monge, the Citizen Action Party (PAC, center), who said “sport hunting is not nothing but a massacre of defenseless animals for the sole purpose of having fun.
So this is a great day for the Wildlife in Costa Rica. This shows once again Costa Rica is one of the most ecological friendly countries in the world.