The National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) announced that it will be using funds from tourist entry fees for more patrols over Corcovado National Park and the Térraba-Sierpe National Wetland. Officials will spend ₡60 million ($120,000) to monitor 42,000 hectares of land and 5,000 hectares of sea.
Budget cuts to the Environment Ministry’s (MINAE) Control and Protection Department and layoffs have led to more people illegally entering the parks in hopes of generating a living through mining, logging and poaching. The new investment would allow MINAE to monitor the parks by sea, land and air in search of gold miners, loggers and hunters in the parks.
Environmental Vice Minister Ana Lorena Guevara, Osa Conservation Area Director Eltima Morales and the head of MINAE’s Control and Protection Department, Carlos Madriz, participated in the first aerial patrol last week, assisted by member of the National Police.
According to MINAE, 51 on-site rangers and eight technical support officers are divided between Corcovado, on the Osa Peninsula, and Térraba-Sierpe, also in southern Costa Rica.
Guevara also promised additional funds for helicopter patrols over Corcovado, where hunting has led to a significant drop in the population of white-lipped peccaries and jaguars.