The C.A.S.H. Courier Newsletter
Costa Rica Bans Sport Hunting
By E.M Fay
Costa Rica has just become the first Latin American
nation to ban hunting as a sport. Taking wild animals from their
habitat for sale and/or keeping them as pets are also penalized under the
new law. The culmination of a provisional reform approved in October,
2012, the December 2012 vote by the Costa Rican Congress was unanimous and
final. President Laura Chinchilla Miranda signed the bill into law.
The law "will allow us to live in peace with other living things
that share our planet," said assembly president Victor Emilio Granadas.
"I believe this is a message we give to future generations, that an
activity like sport hunting is not a sport but a cruelty," added Granadas.
Among the many
native species that have long been hunted in Costa Rica, either as trophies
or to be sold, are jaguars, pumas, and other "exotic" felines, and various
types of parrots. When the new law goes into effect, anyone caught
sport hunting will risk four months in prison or fines up to $3000.
Those taking animals for sale or pets will face a somewhat smaller penalty.
Hunting had been big business in Costa Rica, as elsewhere. Senor
Arturo Carballo, the Deputy Director of Apreflofas, an environmentalist
group who were in the forefront of this reform, said, "We do know there are
currently clandestine hunting tours that go for about $5,000 per person."
A positive sign is that this new law is the first proposal
that arrived in Costa Rica's Congress by way of a popular initiative, with
177,000 citizens' signatures calling for the ban. (Guardian, Dec. 11,
A small country, Costa Rica is possessed of a
stunning array of varying landscapes and abundant natural resources.
It has been a haven for an estimated 5% of the world's bio-diversity.
Despite its size, Costa Rica has more bird species than the United States,
and more species of butterfly than the continent of Africa. The human
population is approx. 4.5 million, with relatively high education levels,
compared to other parts of Latin America.
sugar, bananas, coffee, and beef are still staples of Costa Rica's export
trade, industry and high-end goods and services have broadened their
commercial markets. In particular, their remarkable biodiversity is a
key draw for ecotourists from all over the world, with tens of thousands of
visitors daily experiencing the incredible variety of local wildlife.
Ecotourism is touted as having a minimal impact on the
environment. Its income is meant to help preserve protected areas as
well as benefit local people, by reducing their dependence on activities
that hurt wildlife and natural habitats. With such treasures
as 4500 species of butterfly, 212 types of mammals, 163 types of amphibian,
220 species of reptiles, approx. 870 varieties of birds, 1600 species of
fresh and saltwater fish, and 13,000 plant species living in the diverse
eco-systems of Costa Rica, there is a lot of life and beauty to protect from
hunters and others who have no respect for nature. Thus, the new ban
on sport hunting has the potential to save Costa Rican animals from a great
deal of suffering in the future.
We can but hope that this milestone
legislation, banning sport hunting, is emulated in other countries,
including the United States.
Go on to
A Proposed Sunday Hunting Bill in Howard County MD was DROPPED
Back to Winter 2013 Table of Contents
C.A.S.H. Courier Article Archive