Top of page

A Toucan in a Costa Rican Wildlife Sanctuary
A toucan in a Costa Rican wildlife sanctuary. Photo by Heather Casey

Costa Rica Environmental Protections – Pic of the Week

Share this post:

Did you know that while Costa Rica is only 0.03% of the land mass on earth, it contains nearly 6% of the world’s biodiversity? For a country that is slightly smaller than West Virginia, that is pretty impressive. As part of our ongoing celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, I want to look at some of the laws Costa Rica has passed to protect its environment and share some pictures from a trip I took to the Guanacaste Province back in 2016.

In 1998, Costa Rica passed Law No. 7788 of April 30, 1998, on Biodiversity. This law functions within the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity and seeks to promote the three objectives of the Convention: conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of resources, and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources. The Law on Biodiversity is one of almost 30 laws that Costa Rica has passed related to the environment. Furthermore, Costa Rica is party to 45 international environmental treaties. As part of its efforts to protect its environment, Costa Rica funnels taxes into promoting environmental best practices, such as managing protected areas and maintaining clean air and water. The Costa Rican government also pays landowners to protect old-growth forest areas and to plant new trees to promote reforestation, which benefits both farmers and forest ecosystems. All of these efforts have led to success in preserving its environment – over 50% of the country is forest, and it is impossible to avoid encounters with native wildlife, especially the various monkey species. Tourists who visit Costa Rica have numerous opportunities to appreciate its environment. For me, it meant taking a riverboat tour of the Rio Tempisque, visiting wildlife sanctuaries, and touring a privately-owned wetlands wildlife reserve, among other things.

Rio Tempisque
Boating down the Rio Tempisque, in the Palo Verde National Park. Photo by Heather Casey.
Crocodile at the bank of the Rio Tempisque
Crocodile by the bank of the Rio Tempisque. Photo by Heather Casey.
A very friendly toucan on the author’s arm at a wildlife sanctuary. Photo by Christopher Casey.
howler monkey
One of many howler monkeys in Guanacaste. Photo by Heather Casey.
Hacienda El Viejo wetlands
The wetlands of Hacienda El Viejo. Photo by Heather Casey.
Costa Rica sunset
Sunset in Costa Rica. Photo by Heather Casey.

Have you been to Costa Rica? If so, what wildlife encounters did you have? Let us know in the comments.

Subscribe to In Custodia Legis – it’s free! – to receive interesting posts drawn from the Law Library of Congress’s vast collections and our staff’s expertise in U.S., foreign, and international law.

Comments (2)

  1. Thanks for great feature on Costa Rica, makes me want to go there. Good role model country for all of us!

  2. I’m going to Costa Rica on Monday, March 7th, with Road Scholar for 11 days, will send you some photos, Loved Yours. Greg Forde

Add a Comment

This blog is governed by the general rules of respectful civil discourse. You are fully responsible for everything that you post. The content of all comments is released into the public domain unless clearly stated otherwise. The Library of Congress does not control the content posted. Nevertheless, the Library of Congress may monitor any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove content for any reason whatever, without consent. Gratuitous links to sites are viewed as spam and may result in removed comments. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on the Library site. Read our Comment and Posting Policy.

Required fields are indicated with an * asterisk.