Thousands of parrots, monkeys, iguanas, toucans, turtles and other rainforest animals are kept as exotic pets in Costa Rica, a practice putting some species at risk, according to experts. The Central American country, famous for its rich biodiversity, won plaudits from conservationists two years ago for banning sport hunting in a pioneering move to protect wild animals. "There are no precise figures, but we know it's a problem of great magnitude, because a study by the environment ministry found that 25 percent of households have a parrot or a parakeet as a pet," said Andrea Aguilar of the Instituto Asis, a key figure behind the conference. Aguilar's institute runs a shelter for wild animals in La Fortuna de San Carlos, a lush region in northern Costa Rica that draws large numbers of foreign tourists with its famous wildlife and tropical vegetation.
BONANZA, Nicaragua (AP) — The first 11 of 24 freelance gold miners trapped by a collapse in a mine in northern Nicaragua have been rescued and crews were working early Saturday to free more, officials said.