QCOSTARICA – Legislators on Wednesday approved in the first debate the bill to declare the sloth – Perezoso – as a national symbol of Costa Rica.
It is an initiative by PLN legislator Yorleny León who received the unanimous vote.
This species would be added to the other 15 symbols that already exist.
The proposal establishes that the Ministry of Environment and Energy (Minae) ensures the conservation of sloths in the country and to seek the protection of their habitat, “especially the restoration of river protection areas.”
The Minae should define, via technical studies, the priority places and critical habitat for sloth connectivity, as well as their threats and the genetic status of their populations.
The initiative assigns the Ministerio de Obras Publicas y Transportes (MOPT) the responsibility of regulating speed limits in the vicinity of sites identified by the Minae as sensitive for the free movement of sloths, both in protected areas and outside of them.
This MOPT will also have to implement aerial wildlife crossings on national routes to facilitate the transit of these animals. Likewise, it will have to coordinate with the municipalities for the creation of aerial wildlife crossings on cantonal roads.
Also, the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) will have the obligation to implement measures to reduce the electrocutions of these animals.
“This project seeks to combine efforts and channel them to ensure that the habitat that this animal requires is protected and that we can have the presence of this little animal that is so interesting,” said León.
The legislator also recalled that the sloth is a symbol of the international campaign to stop selfies with animals – Costa Rica Wants To End Selfies With Wild Animals.
“In one way or another, all Costa Ricans identify with this animal, which allows us to feel tenderness, affection and the need to protect it when we are in front of one of them,” León commented.
In the list of national symbols are:
- The national coat of arms (declared in 1948)
- The flag of Costa Rica (1948)
- The guaria morada (national flower since 1939)
- The Guanacaste tree (since 1959)
- The yigüirro as a national bird (1977)
- The national anthem (1949)
- The Ox cart (1988)
- The white-tailed deer (1995)
- The marimba as a national musical instrument (1996)
- The torch of independence (2005)
- he Crestones of the Chirripó National Park (2011)
- The manatee as a symbol of marine fauna (2014)
- The pre-Columbian indigenous spheres (2012) after Unesco declared the set of cacicales settlements of Diquís as a world heritage site.
- The National Theater (2018)
- Costa Rican coffee (2020)
Coffee – also known as “the golden grain” joined the set of national symbols of Costa Rica with the aim to recognize the value of coffee in the economic and social development of the country.
Coffee production in Costa Rica began in the late 1700s in the Central Valley, which had ideal soil and climate conditions for coffee plantations. In the nineteenth century, the Costa Rican government strongly encouraged coffee production and the crop became a major source of revenue surpassing cacao, tobacco, and sugar production as early as 1829.
Although the country’s production has significantly decreased in the last two decades, Costa Rican coffee beans are still considered among the best in the world. The country produced about 1.4 million bags of coffee for the year 2018/19