REUTERS) — Costa Rica recently became the first Latin American country to ban hunting as a sport, following an unanimous and final vote from Congress.
Lawmakers had provisionally approved a reform to its Wildlife Conservation Law in October. With a population of 4.5 million people, Costa Rica is one of the world’s most biodiverse nations.
The Central American country is already known for its environmental mindset, with some 25 percent of its land protected as national parks or reserves.
Under the new law, those caught hunting can face up to four months in prison or fines of up to $3,000.
Smaller penalties for people who steal wild animals or keep them as pets were also included in the reform. Jaguars, pumas and sea turtles are among Costa Rica’s most treasured species.