Costa Rica’s public zoo administration, FUNDAZOO, held an impromptu press conference on Tuesday to complain of “unauthorized” and “unannounced” Environment Ministry (MINAE) inspections earlier that morning.
According to Environment Vice Minister Ana Lorena Guevara, the inspection was a routine inventory assessment to prepare for the conversion of the country’s two public zoos into cage-less bio parks in May of next year, terminating the contract with FUNDAZOO. MINAE said they sent notice on Aug. 6 informing FUNDAZOO that officials would be making inspections during the first several weeks of September.
“We arrived there and were surprised to find that the zoo was closed,” Guevara told The Tico Times. “As owners of the property we were allowed to enter and did in order to make the inspections.”
FUNDAZOO’s lawyer, Enrique Rojas, compared MINAE’s entrance to the zoos to a homeowner barging in on the house they were renting out. He also said that MINAE’s “military-style” entrance was illegal according to Article 132 of the Public Administration Law.
Rojas said FUNDAZOO plans to file an official complaint against MINAE, their second court action since the ministry announced it will sever ties with the organization. FUNDAZOO filed a lawsuit against MINAE shortly after being informed that their contract would not be renewed, claiming the contract automatically renews every 10 years.
In 2004, MINAE also said they would not renew their contract with FUNDAZOO, but was forced to continue with the contract for another 10 years after a court ruled on a technicality.
“What is their motive for doing this?” Rojas asked. “What is their problem with FUNDAZOO? They tried to do this before and we won. We will win again.”