Sunday, August 4, 2013
Costa Rica Ends Animal Captivity
In a bold move, the government of Costa Rica has announced its intention to close its zoos. Environmental Minister, Rene Castro released an official statement:
“We are getting rid of the cages and reinforcing the idea of interacting with biodiversity in botanical parks in a natural way. We don’t want animals in captivity or enclosed in any way unless it is to rescue or save them”
While Costa Rica is a fairly small country, it has amazing biodiversity. Over four percent of all known species on Earth are represented in the small Central American country.
In 2009, Costa Rica was ranked as the greenest country in the world. It has made great strides in the area of environmental sustainability and is consistently in the top tier of Latin American countries in the area of human development. Costa Rica has also developed a reputation for progressive behavior towards wild animals. In 2002, the country banned circus animals and in 2012, it became the first country on the American continent to ban recreational hunting.
The country’s plan to close its zoos will take effect March 2014 when the government contract with zoo operators expires. The area where the current zoos are located will be transformed into urban parks where wildlife can freely roam.
Animals that are currently in captivity will be evaluated before being released. Those deemed fit for life in the wild will be released while those that are unsuited for a return to the jungle will be relocated to wildlife sanctuaries or rescue centers.
This is an amazing movement towards a more balanced approach of living in a more natural manner. Tribal cultures lived in balance with the world around them and as a result, had extensive knowledge of the natural world. By moving back towards such balance, perhaps we can retain more "shamanic wisdom" to help us deal with the ever changing modern world.