Costa Rica has had hunting on the agenda since 2010 when an initiative by Costa Rican citizens brought some 177,000 signatures before congress decrying the act.
The Costa Rican congress enacted a ban on hunting as a result of the petition in 2012, and the ban has now passed into law. The law makes it illegal to hunt or poach with various associated fines in place and prison time. Hunters caught in the act will face $3,000 in fines and up to four months in prison.
The law looks to protect parrots, jaguars, pumas, ocelots and other felids as well as the numerous sea turtles that regularly land in Costa Rica for nesting. Many felines are hunted to later be sold on the black market, and parrots and other exotic bird species also find themselves as prey to exotic animal collectors. Sea Turtles are commonly subject to poaching which adversely effects their populations.
The new ban is not only focused on Costa Rican hunters, but also those foreigners who come to pillage the 25% of protected lands that make up Costa Rica’s rich natural landscape. Many who come to visit Costa Rica are here to enjoy the beach and the mountains solely for relaxation and adventure. There are others, however, who come to exploit the natural resources for monetary gain.
Some clandestine companies even offer hunting packages for upwards of $5,000 to hunt exotic animals, but people may think twice with stiff fines and prison time as a consequence of the action. The indigenous groups and some scientific research organizations are excluded from the current law, though. Certain indigenous groups rely on hunting to survive, and scientific research groups need to collect specimens to study and learn how to better benefit the survival of particular species.
This is the first such law to be passed in Costa Rica that came by way of a popular initiative.