President Laura Chinchilla on Thursday signed a new law that prohibits hunting for sport in Costa Rica. The measure was approved in December by the Legislative Assembly and will take effect when published in the official daily La Gaceta.
The new hunting law sets fines for sport hunters of up to ₡1.5 million ($3,000) and up to ₡900,000 ($1,800) for people caught trafficking wildlife species.
It allows hunting for personal consumption in limited circumstances, scientific research or wildlife population control. It does not affect sport fishing, a popular tourist activity in the country.
The legislation made Costa Rica the first country on the continent to ban hunting for sport and was promoted by local conservation group Apreflofas, through a new legislative procedure known as public initiative. It includes new national standards for wildlife protection similar to those used in other countries.
Chinchilla said she regretted that the country had to wait six years for the approval of the bill, and that “during all that time some animal species disappeared.”