Costa Rica has always been one step ahead of the world when it comes to conservation and sustainability of the environment, so it came as no surprise when it announced in August, that it will be shutting down its zoos and freeing its animals.
Costa Rica is home to 4 percent of all known species and this latest decision to close down zoos is another example of how much the government cares for the planet.
The government had plans to re-create its two major zoos after seeing their ill-maintained and poor conditions: The Simon Bolivar Zoo Conservation Center was to be turned into a botanical and education center while the Conservation Center of Santa Ana was supposed to be revamped into a 51-hectare wildlife reserve.
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However by the time these plans were announced, Fundazoo, the company in charge of managing the Costa Rican zoos, had appealed to the court to get its contract renewed for another 10 years. According to the court ruling, the Costa Rican Environment Ministry (MINAE) missed their deadline to give notice to the company by one day.
Unfortunately, because of these contractual obligations, the zoos can keep their doors open until 2024. However MINAE insists that they announced the decision to not renew their contract with Fundazoo on time and has already filed a counter court appeal. They are now on a mission to pass new policies regarding animal captivity in government funded institutions.
“We are getting rid of the cages and reinforcing the idea of interacting with biodiversity in botanical parks in a natural way,” said Environmental Minister René Castro. “We don’t want animals in captivity or enclosed in any way unless it is to rescue or save them.”
If MINAE succeeds in terminating its contract with Fundazoo, Costa Rica will become the first country to implement a plan to shut down state-owned zoos.
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