United States, Panama Present Results of Chagres and Darien National Parks Conservation Funds

Panama City, 21 November 2018. The governments of the United States and Panama, jointly with The Nature Conservancy and Fundacion Natura NGOs, presented today the results of the environmental programs executed with the Chagres and Darien National Parks conservation funds.

The government of the United States and Panama created the Chagres and Darien National Parks conservation funds through a nature preservation for debt swap agreements. Under the agreements, the United States provided Panama $10 million in 2003 for the conservation of the Chagres National Park and $11 million to conserve the Darien National Park in 2004.

After 15 years, the scheduled period of the Chagres and Darien National Parks conservations funds come to an end, while a new stage begins with the creation of the Ecological Trust Fund of Panama. Last year, the United States provided $11 million for the new trust fund, which aims to maintain environment conservation efforts in the Darien and Chagres National Parks.

U.S. Embassy Panama Chargé d’Affairs Roxanne Cabral underlined “this is yet another success story in the collaboration between the United States and Panama. We are partners and friends who work together to achieve sustainable development for all.”

Chargé d’Affairs Roxanne Cabral gives remarks during event

A list of achievements of the Chagres and Darien National Parks conservation funds follows:

  • Funds allowed the discovery of 12 new plant species and 4 new animal species in the Darien National Park.
  • Funds allowed discovering a new distribution among 13 plant species, 1 mammal species (bat), 11 bird species, and 1 reptile species (snake).
  • Funds allowed to report over 100 genus and 81 species, as a result of monitoring efforts at Darien National Park’s lakes and lagoons.
  • Funds allowed to establish community-based entrepreneurship programs that are productive, sustainable, and environmental-friendly. For instance, peasants from the Garachine, Pijibasal, and Cerro Naipe communities in Darien are commercializing eco-tourism offers, coffee, and plantain. While in the Chagres region, communities increased their touristic offer. Today, 22 tourist packages in 6 communities are currently operating, which allow tourists to visit communities such as Quebrada Ancha #2, Parara Puru, and La Tranquilla; there are 20 bird watching tour guides, who blazed trails to offer tourist attractions such as butterfly repositories, medicine plant crafting, and traditional honey production.

All of the aforementioned projects follow environment conservation best practices, which decrease the erosion of the deciduous forests, which is important to preserve biodiversity and the habitat of emblematic species such as the jaguar and the harpy eagle.

The results of the Chagres and Darien National Parks conservation funds were presented at the 22nd Mesoamerican Biology and Conservation Society Congress, which included conferences on preservation efforts on the tally of living jaguars and harpy eagles at the Darien National Park.