Our mission is to rescue and establish sustainable assurance colonies of amphibian species that are in extreme danger of extinction throughout Panama. We will also focus our efforts and expertise on developing methodologies to reduce the impact of the amphibian chytrid fungus (Bd) and proceed to reintroduction trials.
The Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project was created in 2009 as a partnership between Zoo New England, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Houston Zoo, Smithsonian National Zoo, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and Defenders of Wildlife to build captive populations of species at risk of extinction from the deadly amphibian chytrid fungus. Together we have built significant capacity for amphibian conservation in Pamama by contributing financial resources, involving zoo staff in field work to collect and care for endangered amphibians, training our Panamanian colleagues in state-of-the art animal care, veterinary care, pedigree management and record-keeping.
Since the project was established, Zoos have provided approximately $300K per year with a total investment of $2.7m in the project that leveraged additional support of $3.9m in grants from Miambiente, First Quantum Minerals (Cobre Panama), USAID, the National Science Foundation, SENACYT, National Geographic, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, the Morris Animal foundation and other private donors. First Quantum Minerals (Cobre Panama) has been our largest corporate contributor, providing approximately $450K per year with a total investment of $2.3m in the project.
The Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project has a 5,000 sq ft facility in Gamboa at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and is currently constructing an additional 1,600 sq ft insect rearing facility.
Our strategic plan is organized around the following 6 goals:
- Goal 1: Ensure adequate physical infrastructure and staffing capacity to effectively manage and breed the living collection.
- Goal 2: Manage genetically viable assurance colonies of 12 species in captivity that are at risk of extinction from chytridiomycosis.
- Goal 3: Research factors to improve long-term sustainability of the captive collections and increase success of release trials.
- Goal 4: Begin experimental frog reintroduction trials with surplus offspring.
- Goal 5: Cultivate and foster an appreciation for amphibians in the public mindset and work on community engagement at the field level.
- Goal 6: Ensure the financial sustainability of the project.