Costa Rica, one of the most biodiverse areas in the world, has 471parks rangers. On average, each officer must protect these 2,750 hectares, equivalent to watching a similar extension to the canton of Moravia.
These data are not an invention. They were exposed by Edgar Gutiérrez, Minister of Environment and Energy, during the presentation of the budget for next year.
Although the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE) operates 14 offices and manages 26.7% of the national territory, in 2017 it will receive 0.6% of the national budget (9 billion colones).
“But we are spending $ 21 per capita for such an important issue. This leads us to think about the need for a new revenue, plan more investment in this area and ensure the conservation of our resources is not in jeopardy in the future,” said Edgar Gutiérrez, chief of the ministry.
Despite the situation, the official admits that it is not the ideal situation and reiterates a commitment to austerity in times of a fiscal crisis affecting the financial stability of the state.
According to Gutiérrez, they will focus on three areas: quality of life, conservation and competitiveness.
The ministry has been suffering from a shortage of almost 400 park rangers for years. However, it is difficult to reach that amount due to budgetary issues.
In 2014, MINAE estimated that the country needs 7 billion colones more per year to meet the shortfall of personnel.