With its lush ecosystem tucked between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans in Central America, Costa Rica is home to vast array of life. In fact, although the small country makes up only 0.01 percent of the planet's land area, it contains a whopping 500,000 species -- representing roughly 5 percent of organisms on Earth.
But beyond merely being blessed with rich biodiversity, the Costa Rican people have made incredible strides to ensure that the creatures living there are protected and cherished, making the nation a haven for wildlife and the poster-child for the power of conservation.
Here are 8 remarkable reasons that Costa Rica is the best place in the world to be an animal:
1. The military was abolished to focus on environmental protection