Applaud Costa Rica for Closing Zoos

Target: Costa Rican Deputy Environment Minister Ana Lorena Guevara

Goal: Commend Costa Rica’s plans to transform zoos into botanical gardens and find more suitable homes for the animals in natural habitats

Government officials in Costa Rica reported plans to convert the country’s zoos into botanical gardens or urban parks and end the practice of caging animals. This announcement is in response to what Environment and Energy Minister Rene Castro called, “a change of environmental conscience among Costa Ricans.” This petition supports Costa Rica for striving to return their caged animals to more natural habitats where they can live freely.

Simon Bolivar Zoo and the Santa Ana Conservation Center currently feature a diverse variety of animals including birds, monkeys, jaguars, and crocodiles. Deputy Environment Minister Ana Lorena Guevara explained the government’s plans to partner with animal-rescue organizations to relocate animals, as well as return suitable animals to the wild. If no proper home is available, the animals will be cared for through the National System of Conservation Areas, Costa Rica’s National Parks administrator.

In May 2014, Simon Bolivar Zoo will become a botanical garden to educate the public about Costa Rica’s biodiversity and provide research opportunities. The garden is expected to attract a variety of species naturally, offering animals a new habitat without cages. Plans for the Santa Ana Conservation Center are still unknown, as the government is seeking community input to determine how best to utilize the space.

Studies have shown the damaging impacts of captivity on animals. reports that animals in zoo exhibits are deprived of the “opportunity to express natural behavior or make choices in their daily lives, and this can lead to boredom and neurosis.” Breeding programs in zoos result in a surplus of animals, which are often recklessly disposed of through slaughter or sold to corrupt exotic pet trades or traveling circuses. Releasing these animals to animal-rescue organizations will allow them to live their lives in a more natural, uncaged environment where some can be rehabilitated to return to the wild.

According to the Latin American Herald Tribune, “close to 30 percent of Costa Rica is maintained under the protection of national parks and forest reserves.” This will ensure that animals relocated from zoos will have access to natural and protected land. As Costa Rica is known for its progressive policies of environmental conservation, this announcement is compatible with the country’s commitment to protecting biodiversity and animal welfare. Sign below to express your support for Costa Rica’s efforts to end the practice of caging animals.


Dear Deputy Environment Minister Ana Lorena Guevara,

We are grateful for Costa Rica’s plan to close down zoos and convert them to botanical gardens and parks. This project will benefit animals and the community, as the government will engage nonprofits and animal-rescue organizations to find new habitats for animals and encourage community collaboration to determine how to utilize the space from closed-down zoos.

The botanical gardens and parks will provide educational and research opportunities for the public to learn about the importance of protecting biodiversity, as well as serve as a new and uncaged habitat for a variety of species. Costa Rica’s plentiful national parks and protected conservation areas will provide a better habitat and life for these animals than as an exhibit in a zoo. Thank you for valuing the protection and welfare of animals by eliminating zoos in Costa Rica.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Sanbagre via Wikimedia Commons

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212 Signatures

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