The Public Security Ministry (MSP) says it will join forces with the Environment Ministry (MINAE) to help protect Costa Rica’s national parks from illegal activity.
In recent weeks, Michael Soto, the Minister of Public Security, visited three protected wildlife areas in the Guanacaste region to discuss hunting, illegal tourism, logging and other types of crimes that occur in conservation areas.
“It was evident that both institutions can train and work together,” MSP said in a press release.
The Public Security Ministry says it will begin conducting so-called “mega-operations” in national parks. During a mega-operation, all branches of Costa Rica’s police coordinate their efforts in an area of suspected crime.
The environmental mega-operations will feature air and sea support in addition to their involvement on land.
“Society has to realize that two institutions have decided to shake hands and take strong actions to combat environmental crime,” said the executive director of SINAC-MINAE, Rafael Gutiérrez, in a statement.
About a quarter of Costa Rica’s land is protected. Defending national parks from poachers, loggers and gold-miners is traditionally the responsibility of park rangers.
Park rangers are tasked with enforcing environmental laws and are often issued guns, though their legal right to use them remains ambiguous.
The agreement between MSP and MINAE will feature joint-training sessions with officials from both forces.