Nicaragua claims Tico border road threatened 600 animal species

January 21, 2013

Several Nicaraguan media on Monday published the results of a study that concluded that the construction of a road along the Río San Juan by Costa Rica affected more than 600 animal species.

“The effect on biodiversity includes direct damage to a corridor for 44 terrestrial and aquatic species, as well as damage of habitat for 600 species, including 150 that are irreplaceable,” the Nicaraguan daily El Nuevo Diario reported.

The study was conducted by the National Autonomous University’s Investigative Center for Aquatic Resources, the Humboldt Center and El Río Foundation.

Route 1856 is a 160-kilometer road parallel to the San Juan River, a natural border between the two countries.

Nicaragua claims that “sediment from Costa Rica pollutes the river, threatens biodiversity, endangers the lives of the nearby towns, violating international environmental protection laws.”

The study also notes that “changes caused [by the road] are significant and threaten the biological connectivity of the isthmus.”

Costa Rican Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo told Radio Reloj that Nicaragua’s claim “is yet another point in the campaign to discredit our country” and expressed doubts on the scientific value of the study.

Castillo recalled that the study was made public just as Nicaragua asked the International Court of Justice in The Hague to unify records on cases filed by Costa Rica for the Isla Calero invasion and the construction of the border road.

According to the diplomat, “this is just an attempt to delay the processing of Costa Rica’s complaints.”

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