Costa Rica Finally Does Away With Public Zoos

Its final 2 state zoos have closed
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2024 1:40 PM CDT
Costa Rica Finally Does Away With Public Zoos
   (Getty Images / Kung_Mangkorn)

"Captivity is only justified when animals cannot return to the forest for either physical or behavioral problems that prevent them from living in freedom"—a stance that obviously clashes with the concept of a zoo. It's Costa Rica's stance, with that line said in a Saturday video posted to Facebook by its minister of environment and energy in announcing the country's last two state zoos have closed. It's a move a long time coming, reports the New York Times: In 2013, Costa Rica banned the keeping of wildlife in captivity, intending to shutter government-funded zoos in 2014. But Fundazoo, the foundation that operated them, put up a legal fight.

That appears to have reached its end. The Ministry of Environment and Energy on Saturday said Fundazoo's contract, which expired Friday, was not renewed, allowing the closure of the Simón Bolívar Zoo and the Santa Ana Conservation Center. Eighteen private zoos in the country are unaffected. As for the 287 animals held in the last two public zoos—a jaguar, crocodiles, spider monkeys, and a sloth among them, per the Tico Times—they'll be evaluated by biologists and vets, quarantined, and either returned to the wild or placed in an animal sanctuary. (Something noteworthy happened in one of the zoos last year.)

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