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Costa Rica Becomes the First Country to Close All Public Zoos 🦥

In May, Costa Rica officially closed its last two state-operated zoos, marking a significant milestone in wildlife conservation.

This decision aligns with Costa Rica's rich biodiversity, as its forests are home to 500,000 unique animals, making up over 4% of the world's known species. Costa Rica is now the first country in the world to shut down all its public zoos. Discover more about this groundbreaking achievement below.

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Zoos are often popular tourist attractions, but this hasn't deterred the Government of Costa Rica from taking decisive action. The Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) announced it would not renew the contract with Fundazoo, the organization managing the country's state-run wildlife centers. Consequently, the Simón Bolívar Zoo and the Santa Ana Conservation Center have ceased operations.

This announcement follows nearly a decade after a law was enacted to ban keeping wild animals in captivity in government-subsidized facilities. Implementation of the law was delayed due to legal challenges from Fundazoo, but it has now been enforced. However, the reform does not affect the 18 private zoos, which will continue to operate in Costa Rica.

State authorities have begun to transfer the 287 animals that lived in the now closed facilities. They have been transported to a rescue center, Vida Silvestre, where their physical and psychological health will be assessed to determine next steps.

Animals that are able, will be reintroduced into their natural habitat. Those who can't be released will live in cage-free sanctuaries.

Would you like more countries to implement these measures?

Activists, legislators, and various organizations in countries such as Mexico, Spain, and the United States have put forward proposals to close state zoos. So far, none of the initiatives in these cases have been successful. We'll see what happens in the future.

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