The case began when a complaint was received about a baby white-face monkey, two green iguanas and an orange-headed parakeet were in captivity within the commercial premises. / National System of Conservation Areas courtesy photo.

-Monday, December 2, 2019

Park rangers seize wild animals

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Rangers of the National System of Conservation Areas, known as SINAC, confiscated several wild animals that were being exhibited in a store in Orotina, Alajuela.

According to the park rangers' report, the case began when a complaint was received Nov. 22 about a baby white-face monkey (Cebus imitator), two green iguanas and an orange-headed parakeet (Eupsittula canicularis), which were in captivity within the commercial premises.

"The little white-faced monkey is an infant, who was tied around the neck with a dog leash. Because of his age it is possible that the mother was hunted to steal the baby or died for some other circumstance," said the park rangers its statement.

According to SINAC, the animals were captured and taken to a rescue center, where the specialist will help them to release into their new habitat.

According to Article No. 110 of Wildlife Conservation Law No. 7317:

"The penalty for those who keep wild animals in pet condition is a fine that varies between 800,000 colones to 1.6 million colones." This is the case of wild animals in danger of extinction or with small populations.

In the case of wild animals, which are not in danger of extinction, the fine is between 200,000 to 800,000 colones.

In addition to the confiscation of animals, park rangers opened the file against the person believed to be keeping the animals in captivity. The case was presented before the Orotina Court of Contravention.

The park rangers call on the population to continue helping to report any suspicions of captive wild animals to the line (506) 2522-6500.

Nov. 20, the Prosecutor's Office ordered five raids to gather evidence on an investigation for the alleged crime of international wildlife trafficking of butterflies and other insects.

According to the prosecutor, the operations were carried out in the homes of the suspects in
Guapiles and a butterfly farm in Uvita.

In this case, four people belonging to the same family are being investigated for the alleged export of insects. The surnames are Brenes-Hernández, Brenes-Fallas, Brenes-Piedra and Brenes-Brenes.

According to the prosecutor, the Brenes family is suspected of allegedly illegally exporting butterflies, beetles, spiders and wasps to Europe.

"It is presumed that, as of March 6, 2018, these people would have been selling these species on the black market, for an approximate amount of 1,000 euros each," said the prosecutor in its statement.

The family has an authorization from the Ministry of Environment to develop a butterfly farm, however, "it is investigated whether or not the butterfly farm is a distraction from the illegal activity that the suspects would be developing," said the prosecutor in its statement.

In a similar case, in March, the Prosecutor confirmed that the Criminal Flagrancy Court of Alajuela found two German citizens surnamed Goldnik, 22, and Ollesch, 54, guilty of animal trafficking.

The court reported, "through a flagrancy trial, an expeditious sentence of five years in prison against the two foreigners who were found guilty of committing a crime of violation of the wildlife law."

A flagrancy crime is a legal term, indicating that a criminal has been caught in the act of committing an offense. The colloquial "caught red-handed" is the English equivalent.

In the luggage of Ollesch, police said they found 354 containers with different species of ants, spiders and a scorpion. Goldnik's luggage held 35 bottles containing ants, they said.

However, the two men did not go to jail because the judge granted them a special benefit. "This means that they will not go to prison, but if the two men commit a crime in our country, during the term of the sentence, five years, the benefit will be revoked and they will serve the prison sentence," said the court.

In addition, the sentence was reported to Interpol and to Europol to activate an international alert each time the sentenced men enter a country.

This case began in February when officials of the
Juan Santamaría Airport in Alajuela, with the collaboration of German officials, detained the two German citizens.

The police received a call from officials of the National Animal Health Service about those German tourists intended to leave the country with several insect species. The National Animal Health Service had received that alert from Germany agents.

Agents at the airport set up an additional luggage screening for people leaving the country.

"The airport police inspected the luggage of the German tourists, recovering the species that were inside the checked baggage. There were several containers with spiders and live ants among others," said the police in its report.

The insects were confiscated by the officers of the National Animal Health Service.


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