In 2013, The Costa Rican Environment Ministry (MINAE) had announced that this May, it would close the country’s two zoos, San José’s Simón Bolívar Zoo and the Santa Ana Conservation Centre, with all the animals to be released into cage-less bio parks. However, tourism is the country’s primary industry, and the act was met with opposition. Last Friday, Costa Rica’s administrative courts ruled in favour of FUNDAZOO, the nonprofit group behind the zoos, who cited a contractual technicality that will cause the zoos to remain in operation until 2024.
It has been reported that the concept of closing the zoos is in line with Costa Rica’s emerging environmental consciousness, whereby more individuals are beginning to question mankind’s ownership over animals. Indeed, the Environmental Minister René Castro commented: “We are getting rid of the cages and reinforcing the idea of interacting with biodiversity in botanical parks in a natural way.”
Environmental activists are continuing to spread word of MINAE’s future intentions, as well as appeal in favour of the zoos becoming cage-less bio parks. No other country in the world currently has plans to shut down its zoos. Costa Rica was also the first nation to completely ban hunting for sport.