I write a lot about animals coming into Costa Rica, but this is a subject close to my heart. This past week 3 birds FINALLY made it into Costa Rica after a year of toil and trouble with Costa Rica government issues. They came in last November only to be turned away after being given an import permit and being approved to enter by the government. It was a sad day last November when we had to put those babies back on a plane to the US. It was very scary too because the MAG threatened to euthanize them because they said that their papers were not in order. Again, after giving them permission (in 2 different forms) to come into the country.
About 3 weeks ago a woman brought a parrot into Costa Rica through the passenger terminal without as much as a health certificate. She didn’t have any paperwork whatsoever. Nothing, nada! And the dumb a…. in the US at the airport allowed her to get on the plane with the bird in cabin. (This is so illegal it is not even close to funny). When the bird arrived in the passenger terminal without and documents the woman and bird had a very serious problem. I was called to see if there was anything that I could do but without a health certificate the bird could not even go back on a plane to go back into the US.
There are international laws that protect parrots on the endangered species list from trafficking and this bird was one of those birds. There was no way to prove ownership of the bird, where it came from, where it was born, captive or wild, nothing. This bird, a pet of many years, was taken from the owner at the airport and euthanized, killed, destroyed!
This could have been prevented if the owner had done her due diligence and gotten the proper permits for her bird. This was not the fault of the Costa Rica government in this instance. It was the fault of the owner and the airline for letting her on the plane without any documents.
Getting everything right and in order IS a long, drawn out and expensive process to come into Costa Rica, but THIS is what happens when you don’t follow the laws of the country.
Another client of ours was more fortunate than this woman. She had her CITES permit from the US and her health certificate when she arrived. This was only a small portion of what is required to enter the country but she had enough to keep her baby alive. Laurel was allowed to board the plane and go back to the US with Jean Luc and we are now working on getting her blood tests and documents in order for his safe return in a month or so.
This same rule applies to dogs and cats. DO NOT run the risk of coming into the country without the proper paperwork. Your pet WILL be euthanized!!!! Costa Rica does not fool around with this stuff. It happens more times than the public will ever be aware of.