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Costa Rica bans trophy hunting, a first for Latin America

Fines, jail for those caught trophy hunting, searching for exotic pets in Costa Rica.

Costa rica macaw trophy hunting banEnlarge
A green macaw (lapa verde) flies in the mountains near Manzanillo Beach, 280 km east of San Jose, Costa Rica, on September 1, 2012. (RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/Getty Images)

Hunting wild animals for sport or capturing them as exotic pets is now illegal in Costa Rica.

The Central American nation’s congress unanimously passed revisions to existing laws on Monday, Reuters reported.

Costa Rica is the first Latin American country to ban sport hunting.

Arturo Carballo and the environmentalist group Apreflofas pushed for the new laws by gaining enough signatures from Costa Ricans.

“There is 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,” he told Reuters.

President Laura Chinchilla was expected to sign the bill into law this week, AFP said.

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The new law imposes $3,000 fines or four months in jail for anyone caught trophy hunting in Costa Rica, one of the world’s most forward-thinking nations with 25 percent of its territory protected as national park or reserve land.

“(It) will allow us to live in peace with other living things that share our planet,” assembly president Victor Emilio Granadas said, according to AFP.

“I believe this is a message we give to future generations, that an activity like sport hunting is not a sport, but a cruelty.”

Costa Rica's jungle cats and exotic birds are popular among visiting hunters, trophy collectors.

The Costa Rican Star said this vote marks the first successful use of the Law of Popular Initiative.

If 135,000 people sign a petition, congress will look at the issue.

More than 177,000 people signed The Wildlife Conservation Law, the Star said.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/costa-rica/121211/costa-rica-bans-trophy-hunting-first-latin-america