INBio, Costa Rica’s National Biodiversity Institute, has surrendered 3.5 million biological specimens to the nation’s government as a result of financial difficulties. According to some news accounts, INBio’s current annual budget is nearly a million dollars short of what is needed to maintain the collections and facilities.
INBio gained international prominence in the 1990s as a model for bioprospecting. An agreement with the pharmaceutical company Merck, however, failed to generate enough income to support operations. Large declines in foreign aid over the past decade also contributed to the institute’s financial problems.