A freedom-craving parrot is behind Costa Rica's decision to close its zoos and throw open its animal cages.
Holidaymakers on city breaks to the capital of San José will from next year be able to enjoy a botanical garden on the site of Simon Bolivar Zoo, which presently houses hundreds of animals.
Santa Ana Conservation Centre in west San José will be turned into a park.
The zoos' animals will either be released into the wild or transported to animal sanctuaries, CNN affiliate Teletica reports.
Environment Minister Rene Castro put the Central American country's new wildlife protection switch down to a childhood memory when his grandmother owned a pet parrot.
Castro told Costa Rica's La Nacion newspaper: "We took the parrot out to the patio, a flock of wild parrots passed, and the parrot went with them."
The Minister added: "It made a big impression on me because I thought that we were taking good care of her. We fed her with food and affection ... all these things that we as humans thought she liked. And when she had the chance, she left."
Costa Rica, long known for its biodiversity which attracts nature lovers on group tours in their multitudes, outlawed circuses with animal acts over 10 years ago and hunting for sport is also banned.
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