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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Speeding is killing Costa Rican wildlife

Wildlife in the Guanacaste Conservation Area (ACG) has been seriously affected by speeding on the road. Costa Rica is recognized worldwide for its diversity of flora and fauna; however, there is no law or decree that establishes responsibilities to guarantee the safety of animals crossing roadways.

Environmentalist Andrea Avila, in charge of the Transportation Infrastructure Project of the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation (MOPT), stated that “all the measures that have been taken in favor of fauna are the result of an institutional initiative. It may be a lack of political interest, because no law obliges us to implement measures in new construction projects.”

“Here in Costa Rica we see an institution like Lanamme: they make a recommendation, but nobody pays attention to it because they are not required by law,” she stressed.

“I can show you many studies of the impact on different species. But without a law not much is done and it is urgent to move forward on this issue,” explained Joel Saénz, director of the International Institute for Wildlife Conservation and Management of the National University (UNA).

In Europe, the United States and Canada, there is a standard that states that any road construction, extension, modification or repair must be approved by an expert on the impact on wildlife.

“This standard applied in countries in Europe and America is very important, because the construction team must have a road ecologist. These are experts in measuring impacts on wildlife and what they recommend has a say,” Saénz explained.

Recently, several animals have lost their lives while attempting to cross the roads, while others have also been severely injured.

For instance, a white-faced monkey was rescued a few days ago after being run over in Guanacaste. According to the incident report, the accident occurred after a vehicle was making illegal driving maneuvers on the road, including speeding.

Last week, the discovery of an adult jaguar that had been run over on the road was also reported.

“One of the biggest problems in Guanacaste National Park and Santa Rosa is that the Interamerican Highway crosses between them. There are a lot of vehicles passing through at high speed,” explained Víctor Montalvo, of the International Institute for Wildlife Conservation and Management of the National University.

In addition, an adult puma was run over and killed on the Bernardo Soto highway near Grecia, and a four-and-a-half-month-old female manigordo was rescued after being run over in a sugarcane plantation in Quebrada Azul, San Carlos.

“Speeding is killing our wildlife. Let’s reduce our speed on the road,” the Guanacaste Conservation Area asked drivers.  

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