Fuerza Pública officers and park rangers are sweeping Parque Nacional Corcovado for illegal hunters and gold panners.
The park on the Osa peninsula is a major environmental treasure. But it also contains gold that has been panned from streams and rivers for centuries. The location is in southwestern Costa Rica.
Police said that some of the miners are using dynamite to blast away at the banks of the streams and rivers to seek more of the ore.
The sweep started Thursday and will last nine days more. The areas being patrolled are Sirena, La Leona, Los Patos and El Tigre where gold panners are likely to be found. Panning is legal in Costa Rica but not in national parks. Some miners use sluice boxes to handle more gravel.
In addition to armed gold miners, police are facing the natural hazards of one of the most unspoiled places in Costa Rica. The park is home to puma and other large mammals. Some sections have not been explored adequately. There also are all sorts of bugs and serpents.
Officers made several arrests and even found children working with their parents.