Wages of success

Published: Friday 31 January 1997

efforts to promote ecotourism in the Manuel Antonio National Park in Quepos, Costa Rica, seem to have boomeranged. Every year, thousands of tourists visit the 680 ha park, which is home to capuchin monkeys, two-toed sloths, poisonous dart frogs, the long-tailed coatimundi and scarlet macaws.

Authorities have banned camping in the park as too many animals were falling ill after eating waste left behind by humans. Signboards warn the visitors that monkeys in the park had become aggressive and dangerous because of feeding by visitors. Also, hotels located outside the park were dumping their sewage directly into the Pacific. "There have been some errors committed, but we know we have a moral duty to protect these riches and we are doing our best to carry it out," says Carlos Roesch Carranza, the minister for tourism.

Tourism is the largest source of income for this country which has 27 other parks and reserves. These attract more than 800,000 foreign visitors each year, earning us $700 million and providing jobs to thousands of people.

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