Leatherback National Park Saved (for now)
Las Baulas Leatherback National Park has been saved for the time being! Costa Rica’s Environmental Commission decided to postpone further discussion of the presidentially sponsored bill 17.383 that would reduce the park to a wildlife refuge and open its leatherback sea turtle nesting buffer zone up to development interests.
Responsibility now falls on the shoulders of Costa Rica’s new President Laura Chinchilla (to be inaugurated May 8). Will she do the right thing, break with her party’s wayward interests, and protect the park?
Today’s events are the latest chapter in a decade long fight to protect the Eastern Pacific Leatherback sea turtle’s most viable nesting beaches. Over the past 2 years the fight has escalated as private interests have proposed changes to the park’s boundaries in order to develop valuable lands along the park’s beaches. This latest threat (bill 17.383) was by far the most concerted effort to redefine park limits. In fact, it proposed downgrading the park to a mere wildlife refuge in order to better facilitate zoning for future construction projects. Hundreds of thousands of people from around the world have sent letters to the Costa Rican congress urging it to do the right thing, and today your voices were heard.