Three men allegedly hunting illegally inside Braulio Carrillo National Park on Tuesday responded by attacking park rangers with machetes. A ranger lost two fingers on his right hand while trying to protect himself from a machete-wielding hunter. That hunter was then shot in the foot by a ranger.
Four park rangers — from the National System of Conservation Areas and the Organization for Tropical Studies (OET) — spotted the men carrying hunting gear and dead peccaries at approximately 4 p.m. during a routine patrol inside the park.
The rangers ordered the men to stop. In turn, the hunters attacked them with machetes, wounding OET park ranger Antonio Ezeta. Another ranger then shot a hunter in the foot and arrested the trio.
The two injured men were taken to hospitals in Heredia, where they remain in stable condition. Police seized the machetes, the peccary meat and three hunting dogs.
OET Operations Coordinator Minor Porras confirmed the incident to The Tico Times, which occurred some seven kilometers from the Braulio Carrillo ranger office near Sarapiquí.
Costa Rica’s Wildlife Law bans hunting for sport and sets fines of up to ₡1.5 million ($3,000) for violations. The men likely will face criminal charges as well for attacking the rangers.