Costa Rica's lawmakers unanimously passed the hunting ban, which
specifies prison or fines for violations.
SAN JOSE, Costa Rica —
Costa Rica on Monday became the first Latin American country to ban hunting
as a sport, following a unanimous and final vote from Congress.
Lawmakers had provisionally approved a reform to its Wildlife Conservation
law back in October. Along with a population of 4.5 million people, Costa
Rica is one of the world's most biodiverse nations.
American country is already known for its environmental mindset, with some
25 percent of its land protected as national parks or reserves.
new law, those caught hunting can face up to four months in prison or fines
of up to $3,000.
Smaller penalties for people who steal wild animals
or keep them as pets were also included in the reform. Jaguars, pumas and
sea turtles are among Costa Rica's most treasured species.
no data on how much money hunting generates in the country, but we do know
there are currently clandestine hunting tours that go for about $5,000 per
person," said Arturo Carballo, deputy director at Apreflofas, an
environmentalist organization that spearheaded the reform.
hunters come to Costa Rica in search of exotic felines while others seek to
obtain rare and colorful parrots as pets.
This is Costa Rica's first
proposal that came to Congress by popular initiative, with 177,000
signatures calling for the ban submitted two years ago.