Environmentalists and business owners joined forces this week to call for a new wildlife law that would establish stricter penalties for trafficking of wildlife and other violations, and end sport hunting in the country.
The Association for the Preservation of Wild Flora and Fauna (APREFLOFAS) and Importadora Monge, a well-known chain department store in the country, announced intentions to collect the 160,000 signatures required to present a popular initiative to the Legislative Assembly.
If it happens, explained officials from both groups, it will be the first time a popular initiative is brought before the assembly in Costa Rica’s history.
Costa Rican citizens can sign petitions between now and next June at any of the chain’s 150 stores throughout the country.
“Wildlife is what attracts people to Costa Rica, and we’re proud to serve as a platform for this initiative,” said Mario Hernández, marketing director for Importadora Monge.
According to Gino Biamonte, executive director of the APREFLOFAS, the current wildlife law, known as the Ley de Vida Silvestre, is in dire need of review as development pressures and tourism increase in the country.
“We want the laws that protect our wildlife to be much stronger,” he said. “And just as importantly, we want Ticos to get involved in the process of protecting their own resources.”