Jaguar
Conservation
Project

Jaguars are considered key predators because they maintain a balance in the ecosystem by regulating size populations of other species into predator/prey systems. Unfortunately, the population of jaguars along with their prey in Panama are rapidly disappearing due to the loss of habitat, deforestation, improper management and intensive poaching.

The Isthmus of Panama is a key region in the "Jaguar Corridor" which is part of the Mesoamerican biological corridor. Panama can make a difference because, in the end, we have in our hands the destiny of these and many other animal species. One of the main enemies of conservation is the lack of knowledge that the general public has regarding the jaguar and many other species.

The conflict between farmers and big cats is one of the main causes of the rapid disappearance of jaguars in the region. This conflict has been dramatically diminishing the populations of big cats.

Our organisation is creating conservation campaigns and integral strategies that include anthropogenic activity in surroundings, vital to protect these majestic animals in Panama. Our action plans will act as soon as possible and attract funds to promote the coexistence between big cats and humans in Panama.

Conservation
of the Panamanian
Harlequin Frog

The decline of the Atelopus species has been widely reported, and their restricted ranges and habitat make them highly vulnerable. Atelopus varius started to disappear from Panama in 1988. In less that 30 years known populations have disappeared, but an unaffected population has been found situated in the Santa Fe National Park in Panama. However, with the construction of a new road and the unknown impact this may have on the population, it appears that the future for this population, as with others, may be hanging in the balance.

A key driver in amphibian declines is the pathogenic fungi Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), and B. salamandrivorans (Bsal), both of which can cause lethal chytridiomycosis (chytrid) in amphibian hosts. As a direct result of Bd infection, Harlequin frogs (Atelopus) are believed to have declined by more than 80% across their former range of Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia, and the species is currently recognised by the IUCN as Critically Endangered.

We need to fully understand how these threats may undermine these populations and develop new measures to protect them. For that reason, PWCC is developing a dedicated monitoring programme in conjunction with The University of Manchester in England to obtain relevant baseline data to inform appropriate management of the population, which is of critical importance.

The Hawksbill
Sea Turtle
Project

The hawksbill is one of the two sea turtle species classified as critically endangered by IUCN due to drastic declines of its populations worldwide (> 80%) during the last century. The alarmingly low numbers suggest that the species will not survive unless coordinated monitoring programmes are put in place to generate biological information and conserve the marine ecosystems, especially those considered as key habitats such as Coiba National Park in Panama.

Since 2015, a coordinated effort has been developed to conduct field surveys in different areas of Coiba Island, to assess population status and identify potential foraging sites. Preliminary results have been encouraging. Coiba is one of the most important foraging sites for hawksbill sea turtles in the Tropical Eastern Pacific.

The unrestrained and unsustainable development that has taken place in the country, particularly in the Pacific beaches, represents one of the main threats to habitat destruction for sea turtles and highlights the importance of identifying nesting sites for these species and having scientific support for their protection in the context of sustainable development.

PWCC aims to identify key non-registered spawning and foraging sites in Coiba for hawksbills turtles in order to fill the void of scientific information which is critical for the conservation, good management and possible recovery of these populations.

Wildlife Surveillance

The intense poacher activity in recent years has caused local populations of felines and white lipped peccary to be declared almost extinct in many parts of Panama. However, the latest species considered extinct in the area has recently been observed by local residents in temporal patches along the buffer zone. These scenarios are enhanced by the lack of knowledge about species natural history and their role in the nature web, as well as the lack of science-oriented information to drive the action of government authorities.

Our camera trap project targets long-term surveillance of the existing wildife, with special attention to endangered or critically endangered species. We will use this information to feed a local environmental education programme to schools and communities; to monitor the status of wildlife in the area and the effectiveness of the conservation efforts; and to produce education materials to promote local awareness towards wildlife and its conservation. A core part of the project will be the deployment of 30 state of the art camera traps in different parts of the national park, checked every 50 days, over five consecutive years. The surveillance will intially last for a period of one year after which an assessment will be conducted to make any necessary amendments.