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Study reveals Thailand and Costa Rica are leaders in conserving wildlife

A recent international study has found that Costa Rica, Thailand and Croatia are doing the most to protect their diverse wildlife. Each of the three countries are doing more than expected to look after their ecosystems that range from forests, jungles, coastline and the underwater world in lakes and the ocean. Conservation efforts in countries like Germany, Luxembourg, and Israel were less than expected.

Study reveals Thailand and Costa Rica are leaders in conserving wildlife

According to recent research, the three countries that are doing the most to protect their natural environment and wildlife species are Thailand, and Costa Rica. The countries are going above and beyond to protect vital species and their unique landscapes.

The international study called "Geography of Conservation Spending, Biodiversity, and Culture" was carried out by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the University of Queensland. Research surprisingly found that the countries with the largest areas of biodiversity, mostly in or near the tropics, were not investing time and money into protecting them.

While Costa Rica, Croatia, and Thailand (also included in this list), spend more of their GDP on conservation efforts, countries like Germany, Luxembourg, Israel, and Latvia, spent less than expected, despite their strong governments and culture. The nations that spent most of their GDP on conservation were New Zealand, Denmark and the Netherlands.

Dr. Tim McClanahan, the Senior Scientist for WCS and co-author of the study and a Conservation Scientist, said that one way for countries to increase their conservation efforts was to choose a species that is seen as the nation’s icon or has great importance to the country, and protect the large areas it lives in. For example Pandas in China, tigers in India, or elephants and lions in Africa. He explained:

"Our finding that the countries most in need of conservation are also not investing in saving it relative to their population numbers and economic output, indicates that more cross-cultural and culturally-specific initiatives are needed to conserve the Earth's species. Promoting conservation after economic development and cultural values change is a recipe for more species extinctions."

Costa Rica is known as one of the most eco-conscious countries in the world and there are currently 11 areas of conservation across the country. With rich biodiversity, two coastlines, and a land surface of 51,100 square kilometres, 20 per cent of Costa Rica’s land is protected. This is not the first time that Costa Rica has been listed as sustainable destination.

With more than 3,000 kilometres of coastline and islands, Thailand has several marine sanctuaries that help protect key marine species such as turtles and coral reefs. Many of its popular scuba diving sites have been closed to tourists due to coral bleaching and efforts are in place to restrict areas to fishing, boat tours and diving so that the reefs can replenish.

Finally, Croatia also has a variety of conservation projects both on land and sea, and there are various programmes on place. There are organisations that help protect bottlenose dolphins; the Adriatic Marine Turtle Project that monitors and rehabilitates sea turtles; and Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has a conservation committee to protect the park’s diverse plants, birds and mammals.

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