An emu died during a rescue operation at an unlicensed wildlife facility in Orotina, Alajuela province, Costa Rica, on Monday. The Ministry of Environment and Energy’s National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) confiscated a number of animals from the facility, known as La Granjita, after receiving a complaint about the illegal possession of wildlife.
The emu, who had resided at La Granjita with its companion for seven years, was unfortunately lost in the process. SINAC officials are investigating the cause of death. A necropsy is underway.
The remaining animals, which included two emus, a tepezcuintle, 12 pheasants, a green iguana, four scarlet macaws, a blue and yellow macaw, and two white-tailed deer, have been relocated to legally registered wildlife management facilities for veterinary assessment and to enhance their quality of life.
SINAC officials found that La Granjita lacked the necessary permits for a wildlife management facility. The animals were also being kept in substandard conditions, with insufficient food and hygiene. The enclosures were also in a state of disrepair.
Francisco Araya, the owner of La Granjita, claims that he acquired the animals legally years ago. He says that complying with the changed Wildlife Law in 2017 became challenging, and in 2019, he agreed to SINAC’s decision to relocate the animals to another facility. However, he insists that the animals were well-maintained and adequately nourished.
The incident highlights the importance of ensuring that wildlife facilities are properly licensed and that animals are kept in humane conditions. It is also a reminder of the importance of reporting suspected cases of illegal wildlife possession.
In addition to the animal welfare concerns, the case also raises questions about the effectiveness of Costa Rica’s environmental laws and regulations. SINAC officials have stated that the owner of La Granjita was in violation of current environmental legislation, but it is unclear what penalties he will face.
It is also important to note that the emu’s death is not an isolated incident. In recent years, there have been a number of reports of animals dying at unlicensed wildlife facilities in Costa Rica. This suggests that there is a need for stricter enforcement of environmental laws and regulations, as well as for more support for legally registered wildlife management facilities.
The Costa Rican government has taken some steps to address these issues. For example, in 2020, SINAC launched a new program to provide financial and technical assistance to legally registered wildlife management facilities. However, more needs to be done to ensure the well-being of Costa Rica’s wildlife.