In a vote with 41 in favor and five against, Costa Rican lawmakers are aiming to make history by becoming the first Latin American country to ban hunting as a sport.
According to Reuters, about 300,000 visitors go to Costa Rica’s national parks, making tourism an economic engine for the country. Costa Rica, popular for its tropical rainforests and eco-friendly resorts, is also one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world featuring, jaguars, pumas, and sea turtles, which are often hunted or stolen as trophies.
“We’re not just hoping to save the animals, but we’re hoping to save the country’s economy because if we destroy the wildlife there, tourists are not going to come anymore,” says environmental activist Diego Marin to local radio, who also campaigned for the reform.
While the ban would protect Costa Rica’s wildlife, it will not apply to hunting by indigenous groups for survival or scientific research.
A second vote will occur in the coming week, Reuters said.