This news is too awesome not to share. In 2013, the beautifully diverse country of Costa Rica announced that it would become the first country in the world to shut down its zoos and free all captive animals. Home to 4% of all known species, the tropical nation is one of the most biodiverse locations on Earth – a major reason why tourism is its #1 industry.
Unfortunately, the country is now contractually obligated to keep the doors of its two zoos open for another ten years, after a court ruling last Friday (more info below). Still, the news of its intentions (documented in 2013) are inspiring enough to share, and activists are continuing to appeal in favor of the government’s desire to transform its zoos into cage-less bio parks.
The nation has plans to close its two government-run zoos as part of an emerging new environmental consciousness that question’s humanity’s dominion over all creatures. Like the landmark ruling in New York concerning chimpanzees, this controversial move has ignited both favor and fury.
Treehugger reports that the nation, which is also the first to completely ban hunting for sport, intends to close its only two zoos in the country, the Simon Bolivar Zoo, and the Santa Ana Conservation. By closing these two establishments, the nation seeks to convey to the world its respect towards wild birds, mammals, and reptiles.
Said the Environmental Minister René Castro, “We are getting rid of the cages and reinforcing the idea of interacting with biodiversity in botanical parks in a natural way.”
“We don’t want animals in captivity or enclosed in any way unless it is to rescue or save them.”
According to sources, existing management contracts were to be terminated in 2014. Unfortunately, it was mandated last Friday that Costa Rican zoos must remain open for another ten years due to contractual obligations. When the day does come that the country is able to transform its zoos into cage-less bio parks, however, animals in captivity not able to be released into the wild will be cared for in rescue centers and wildlife sanctuaries throughout the country.
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