San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica set to ban hunting, a first in the Americas

Costa Rican lawmakers on Tuesday night approved a series of amendments to the Wildlife Law, which prohibits hunting for sport in the country.

The law allows the hunting of animals only in the case of scientific research, subsistence and species control.

The bill was approved in a first-round vote by 41 lawmakers, with only five members of the Libertarian Movement Party voting against it.

The bill set another precedent in the country, as it was proposed to the Legislative Assembly by public initiative, having garnered the signature of 177,000 Costa Ricans. The effort was organized by local conservation group Apreflofas.

The Libertarian Movement Party’s top lawmaker, Carlos Góngora, said his party planned on filing several motions to block the bill, but ran out of time before the vote.

Luis Guillermo Solís, likely to be the next presidential candidate from the Citizen Action Party, said the bill’s passage “was living history … because today people organized and commanded the First Branch of the Republic.”

“The Wildlife Law is perfectible, but more importantly, it inaugurates popular initiative laws. Today, the people are sovereign. … Social organization [and] civic action are the driving force for major social changes and a fundamental asset that strengthens and improves our democracy,” he added.

The bill must now pass a second round of voting and be signed into law by President Laura Chinchilla, before been sent for publishing in the government newspaper, La Gaceta.

Contact L. Arias at

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