Costa Rica has the Playa Grande, a beach which is the last nesting ground for the endangered leatherback turtles in the East Pacific. However, the government, under President Oscar Arias, is trying to scale down the park. Over the past 15 years, lots were sold behind the nesting grounds but inside the national park. It seems that some people were scammed while others didn't care that they were building in the park. Some people have even started building there houses.
Another problem for these turtles is that long-line fishing boats catch female turtles of the coasts of Peru and Chile, which are both nations with important fishing industries. People are saying that they can't stop the fisherman, so they need to stop the Costa Rican government from selling the land. The turtle population seems to be decreasing with every new year. The problem is that Costa Rica will need to pay the people who own houses in the national park expropriation fees. The government stands to lose as much as US$500 million if they can't allow the people to build their houses. Costa Rica has been known for its stringent environmental policies, but it is in a bind.
I thought that this topic was appropriate for our class section on land. It is nice to see that the govenment has to pay people for their land, instead of just taking it. But let's hope the turtles make it out alright.
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