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- Photo via Ministry of Public Security -

Canadian man arrested as a suspect of wildlife trafficking

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Published on Wednesday, August 23, 2023
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

A male Canadian tourist surnamed Durand (59) was detained by the police at the Juan Santamarķa International Airport (SJO) in Alajuela Province on suspicion of wildlife trafficking.

According to the brief report from the Ministry of Public Security, on Tuesday the man intended to travel back to his home country.

During the routine baggage screening, Migration officials detected something inside the man's suitcase.

In a more detailed inspection of the man's luggage, officers found several plastic bags containing various marine species. Among these were 30 marine fauna including seashells marine mollusks and snails.

The tourist was detained at the airport and presented before the Public Prosecutor's Office. While the marine animals were seized as case evidence. 

In addition, the recovered species were handed over to representatives of the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC). They will review the condition of the animals and, if applicable, return them to their natural ecosystem.

According to SINAC, trading or capturing wild animals for captivity is a crime in Costa Rica.

Wild flora and fauna are protected by Wildlife Conservation Law No. 7317. Those found guilty of keeping wild animals will be fined between $1,400 and $2,800. In the case of wild animals in danger of extinction or with small populations, these fines could be higher.

Additionally, the law establishes that any person who is found responsible for committing an environmental or wildlife crime could face a prison sentence of one year.

Anonymous complaints about wild animal hunting or in captivity can be made by calling line 1192.

One of the biggest problems that threaten wildlife in the country is the illegal extraction of species from their natural habitat to traffick them or keep them as souvenirs or pets.  Recently, a man of New Zealand nationality was detained by the police at the SJO airport on suspicion of wildlife trafficking.

Since 2021 four tons of shells have been seized from tourists, authorities reported.

What is the penalty for wildlife trafficking in your country?
We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to news@amcostarica.com

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