Just one day after President Luis Guillermo Solís signed the new Animal Welfare Bill into law, officials from the private refuge ZooAve confirmed the death of a toucan from injures that were apparently caused by a BB gun.
Officials from the Firefighters’ Corps rescued the bird after receiving a report that it had fallen in the backyard of a house in Atenas, in the province of Alajuela, on Monday morning.
The toucan had a severe wound under its wing that caused exposed fractures.
Firefighters rushed the bird to ZooAve in La Garita, also in Alajuela. The private center specializes in birds and is the current home of the world famous toucan named Grecia, also a victim of animal cruelty.
The bird did not survive the loss of blood and the stress of the situation, ZooAve spokeswoman Mariann Ortega confirmed.
The wound had all the characteristics of those caused by BB guns, ZooAve vets said in a public statement.
Local residents told firefighters that they have seen a group of youngsters shooting BB guns “at everything” in the San José de Atenas neighborhood.
On Sunday, President Solís signed into law Bill #18,625 which introduces prison sentences ranging from three months to one year for those found guilty of killing a domestic or a domesticated animal. The law will take effect as soon as it is published in the official government daily, La Gaceta.
However, Costa Rica’s existing Wildlife Law already prohibits hunting in Costa Rica, and sets fines of up to ₡1.5 million (some $2,600) for those responsible for killing a wild animal.