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Costa Rica poised to ban wildlife hunting as a sport

SAN JOSE -- Costa Rica is poised to become the first Latin American country to ban hunting as a sport, after Congress on Tuesday provisionally approved reforms to its Wildlife Conservation Law.

Lawmakers voting on the ban voted 41 in favor and five against, and a second vote expected in the coming week is widely seen ratifying changes to the law, which aims to protect animals in one of the world's most biodiverse countries.

Costa Rica's national parks attract some 300,000 visitors annually, and tourism is a mainstay of the economy.

“We're not just hoping to save the animals but we're hoping to save the country's economy, because if we destroy the wildlife there, tourists are not going to come anymore,” environmental activist Diego Marin, who campaigned for the reform, told local radio.

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