Costa Rica’s motto is pura vida which means pure life. They have been ranked the third greenest country in the world time and time again by Yale’s Environmental Performance Index or EPI. When looking to travel through Costa Rica, eco-lodges and environmental tourist destinations are everywhere. The country has planted well over 5 million trees in the last five years, this previously third world country is now leading the environmental example for countries everywhere. While trying to uphold their green status the government has recently decided that the best way to experience wildlife is through national parks, where nature can be enjoyed naturally. This has lead to the closure of the two public zoos and the relocation of the residents to animal sanctuaries, where the native animals will hopefully be released back into the wild.
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India is the fourth country to ban keeping cetaceans in captivity, behind Costa Rica, Hungary and Chile. Dolphins and other cetaceans have long been kept as a source of entertainment and guaranteed income in zoos and theme parks alike. But knowing what we know now about cetacean intelligence, is that really the right thing to do?
The second semester of my freshman year of college I was desperate to transfer. I wasn’t a huge fan of the social scene and I would do anything to get out of Texas. I had planned to go abroad for a year to Costa Rica to live at a research station in Monte Verde Cloud Forest. I was leaning away from studying medicine and changing my major to biology and journalism. I wanted to study animals and write about them! What kinds of animals? Well, I just wasn’t so sure yet.