Nispero Zoo


EVACC manager Heidi Ross in the conservation holding section of EVACC, explaining operations to a visitor.

EVACC is one of two captive breeding facilities in Panama managed by the Smithsonian devoted to endangered amphibians as part of the larger Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project. It is situated on the grounds of the El Nispero Zoo in Panama.

EVACC is the first-ever conservation breeding center to protect Panama’s endangered amphibians and was constructed as an emergency response to amphibian declines when the chytrid fungus arrived in El Valle de Anton in 2006. The facility construction was funded by a consortium of partners and zoos led by the Houston Zoo. During the initial die-offs construction of the facility had not yet begun, but responding swiftly to the emergency, conservationists Edgardo Griffth and Heidi Ross began rescuing frogs and housing them temporarily in rooms at the Hotel Campestre. The collection was finally transferred to the newly constructed building in 2007. Today, half of the facility is devoted to quarantine, treatment and captive breeding efforts, the other half of the facility is open to the public and exhibits native Panamanian amphibian species. The central exhibit showcases the golden frog, and is the only place where you can still see this important cultural icon and national symbol for wildlife conservation in Panama.

Golden frog exhibit at EVACC, the only place in Panama where you can see this charismatic species.

Exhibit & hours: The exhibit houses an extensive collection of native amphibians including the Panamanian golden frog. Open daily 9am-5pm closed Tuesdays. Nispero Zoo entry $3 foreigners, $2 locals.  EVACC entry is free, but donations to maintain EVACC are gratefully received on site or online.

Directions: Follow signs for the Nispero Zoo 1.5km down gravel roads from the main turnoff near the market on Av. Principal, El Valle.
Contact: El Nispero Zoo Phone: 983-6142.
Email: Heidi Ross, EVACC manager rossh[at]
Mail: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Apartado Postal 0843-03092 , Panamá, República de Panamá

Priority Conservation Species:

Atelopus zeteki
Atelopus varius
Hylomantis lemur
Gastrotheca cornuta
Colostethus panamensis
Anotheca spinosa
Hemiphractus fasciatus
Strabomantis bufoniformis

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