You won’t find any of Costa Rica’s park rangers in the office during the holy week before Easter, or Semana Santa. From April 14 to 18, more than 600 rangers will monitor the country’s highways and protected areas in search of illegal loggers, poachers and exotic pet traffickers. The rangers, 200 volunteers, police and coast guard personnel participating in the operation will log up to 11,000 working hours.
Costa Rica’s National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) invests in the operation every year due to the high volumes of travel during the holiday.
“This security effort is an attempt to mitigate the environmental effects of large numbers of people leaving urban areas and going to rural areas,” said SINAC Director Rafael Gutiérrez. “Equally as important is the fact that many infractions occur from people trying to take advantage of the lack of institutional human resources during this time.”
On average per year, the operation cites 32 people with the illegal capture of birds, 200 fishermen for various infractions, 12 people with illegally obtained reptiles and an unquantifiable number of people with illegal hearts of palm, orchids and palm leaves.