Officials from Costa Rica’s National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) issued citations to 67 people for crimes against the environment in a two-week operation, according to the organization’s control and protection unit.
“Environmental infractions have increased within the national parks with fewer personnel,” Carlos Varela, SINAC’s control and protection coordinator, told The Tico Times. “These large parks have very few access points and are difficult to patrol.”
A third of Costa Rica’s territory is environmentally protected, and drops in funding mean fewer park rangers monitor the areas. Groups of illegal hunters, fishermen, miners and loggers take advantage of gaps in the patrols. The ₡11,182,996 ($22,366) operation was an attempt to address the problem.
It resulted in 43 seizures, including cars, machinery and hunting rifles. Officials also nabbed a total of 171 cubic meters of illegally harvested hardwoods.