Good News! Costa Ricans Rally to Pass a Law Banning Hunting

The Costa Rican Congress voted unanimously and the president signed a wonderful law, one that we can only dream of passing in the U.S.: a ban on hunting. The ban has teeth: a fine of up to $3,000 for hunters who break the law.

Costa Rica had a lot to lose if it didn’t end hunting. The country boasts an amazing range of fascinating, beautiful, adorable and unusual animals. It is among the countries with the “highest density of biodiversity in the world,” according to Raw Story. Costa Rican species include  jaguars, pumas, armadillos, deer sloths, and a variety of different monkeys, birds, amphibians and reptiles like sea turtles. (To see some of them play the video below.)

Tourists drawn by the fauna come in throngs — about two million a year — and they contribute $2 billion to Costa Rica’s economy.

By happy coincidence, what is good for the animals and ecosystems is also good for the financial well-being of the Central American nation’s residents — and for their moral rectitude.

Assembly President Victor Emilio Granadas said the legislation “allows us to live in peace with other living things that share our planet. I believe this is a message we give to future generations, that an activity like sport hunting is not a sport but a cruelty.”

Amen to that.

This legislation is the first to come to Congress through a popular initiative and the first of its kind in Latin America.

The law is not perfect. It permits fishing for sport and hunting for culling, subsistence and scientific purposes. That last exception brings to mind the ban on hunting whales except for scientific purposes, which has proven to be a loophole as large as Japan.

That brings us to the problem of enforcement. If the effort to save elephants and other endangered wildlife in Africa is any indication, poor enforcement could render the law useless.

As Alicia Graef pointed out on this site last week, in Africa poachers with automatic weapons can easily out-shoot the park wardens’ guns. And however well they are armed, wardens can’t be everywhere at once. So the poaching continues despite a ban on trading ivory. About 17,000 wild elephants were killed just in 2011.

Costa Rica will have to devote sufficient resources to enforce the new law. The fact that it originated as a popular initiative suggests that the public is on board with that, so hopefully the government won’t cheap out. And hopefully other countries will follow its lead.


Related Stories:

28 Endangered Elephants Killed by Poachers

South Africa Resumes Canned Hunting

Trump’s Wildlife Killing Spree: Their Next Vacation?


Photo credit: iStockphoto


Gayle J.
Gayle, J4 years ago

At least they're making an attempt to stop hunting and trying to make CR a more peaceful place for the animals. That kind of thinking is needed world wide for when govts actually realize that killing animals for sport is cruel, they are making progress. And when there is less violence towards animals I think that humans will feel more peaceful too. Hopefully, they will close the loopholes at some point and really make it a total hunting ban.

Todd Warner
Todd Warner4 years ago

They still allow for "hunting for culling, subsistence and scientific purposes"
Which is what 99% of hunting is.

So, they banned trophy hunting? Good. But, in most places, trophy hunting is generally a very small percentage of hunting activity. Not sure how much trophy hunting was occurring in Costa Rica.

Shanti S.
S S4 years ago

Thank you.

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Waheeda S.
Waheeda E4 years ago

Good for Costa Rica! Now hopefully it will enforce any breaches of the law.

Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla4 years ago

Let the others countries follow!!!

Heidi D.
Heidi D4 years ago

I don't like the loopholes, and any law is only as good as its enforcement, but it is a good start. I wish Canada and the U.S. would enact anti-hunting laws, but the anti-wildlife lobby is too powerful. All I can do is hope a lot of hunters get killed by each other during hunting season.

Doug S.
Doug S.4 years ago

1st "Costa Ricans" did not pass the law! The Govt down here did! Also they let shark finning still! Also the pisc you are showing are not the animals they were hunting. Get your facts correct then do a story about this country!

Mark Donners
Mark Donner4 years ago

This constructive news must be torture to the minds of American and Canadian murderers and their counterparts in bloodthirsty Asia. This is the first nail in the coffins of redneck crazies. Hopefully all of South America will follow Costa Rica's lead.

Mark Donners
Mark Donner4 years ago

Henri D. I encourage you togo to Costa Rica once this law is passed and wave your redneck guns in front of the Costa Rican rangers or Army. I wouldn't shed a tear on the inevitable result. Better hide!