Arias, Leave the Leatherbacks Alone

During Oscar Arias’ administration, private development interests have been encouraged to mount interminable attacks against Costa Rica’s Leatherback Marine National Park, located along the country’s northern Pacific Coast. Over the past few years, multiple bills have been written, each one proposing to rezone the park and open its beaches up to coastal construction projects. Thankfully, through the diligence of the Legislative Assembly’s Environmental Commission, every one of these bills has been rejected.

Click on Nature Air Blog's logo for more information on Leatherback National Park

Click on Nature Air Blog's logo for more information on Leatherback National Park

Desperate to exploit their individual intentions, developers have presented a new bill (17.383), which proposes to degrade the national park to a mere national wildlife refuge. The bill is backed by President Oscar Arias Sanchez himself, who has ordered the members of his National Liberation Party to support it. By showing his support and handcuffing his fellow party members to act otherwise, Arias intends to push the bill through the Environmental Commission and plenary vote before the country’s national elections take place in February. Doing so would guarantee that the incoming government does not meddle with his intentions.

It’s important to note that the Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge was set up to protect the leatherbacks in the late 80’s. However, it proved totally inadequate, as its level of protection was not suficient to deter egg pochers from stealing nearly all of the nesting leatherback’s nests. The only way to protect these turtles, and their eggs is through national park legislation.


Costa Ricans and foreigners are encouraged to sign the following on-line petition to reject the proposed changes to Leatherback National Park

In addition to signing Pretoma’s petition, park supporter are encouraged to write personal letters to Senora Hania M. Durán at the Legislative Assembly:

The following is a sample letter:

Costa Rica created Las Baulas National Park by Law in 1995, acknowledging
its responsibility as the depositary of the last leatherback nesting
beach in the Eastern Pacific. Unfortunately, I’m aware that this Honorable
Commission is reviewing bill 17.383 to amend the Law and downgrade the park to a national wildlife refuge, something that would alter critical leatherback nesting habitat.  I’m also aware of the State Attorney’s and the Constitutional Court’s rulings that mandate the Government of Costa Rica to immediately proceed with the expropriation of lands within the Park’s boundaries for their permanent protection.
I therefore urge this Commission to uphold the aforementioned Court rulings, and reject this bill.
Thank you.

PS. Don’t forget to copy President Arias’ secretary, Mariangel Solera, at and Pretoma at

Full Name
ID / Passport / Cédula

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