Although Costa Rica in December approved a reform to the country’s Wildlife Law to ban hunting for sport, unidentified hunters last Saturday shot a deer and her fawn on a farm near Carara National Park in the Pacific province of Puntarenas.
The park’s administrator, Osvaldo Rodríguez, and members of a citizens group called Natural Resources Surveillance Committee, or COVIRENA, found the animals.
“The mother was shot in the udder and her fawn, just a few days old, was possibly nursing, so he was hit by several pellets,” Rodríguez told The Tico Times.
When COVIRENA members found the animals the fawn was already dead and the mother was alive, lying by his side. “She was taken to a veterinary hospital where she underwent surgery, but she died minutes later,” Rodríguez added.
The official called on citizens to help protect natural resources, as “despite all efforts from staff at national parks, there is still much, much work to do,” he said.
“We ask people to continue denouncing hunters. We know many of them, but we can’t do anything unless we have proof. … We must convince people, and mostly children, that this is a serious situation, that hunting is not entertainment, it is not fun, and it is not to be encouraged,” he said.
Costa Rica’s hunting ban 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.
The law 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.
In June, photos of a jaguar killed by hunters near the Santa Rosa National Park in the northwestern province of Guanacaste went viral and sparked outrage on social media networks.