Panama Bay, Panama
The Bay of Panama is recognized as one of the most important shorebird migration locations in the Western Hemisphere. The area’s rich biodiversity, ecosystems, and mudflats support the key species of Western Sandpiper, Wilson’s Plover, and the Whimbrel. These high-priority shorebirds rely on very specific types of habitat for feeding during migration. Due to Panama’s location between North and South America, 80 percent of all shorebirds migrating through Panama rely upon the mangroves and mudflats at the head of the bay.
Currently, there is a lack of government knowledge about environmental protection laws and a corresponding lack of governmental oversight. In addition, communities need better education and information that can help them better manage their resources. National Audubon Society, along with our partners, is working to reduce threats to the bay. Our main objectives are to educate local authorities, develop a scientific research program for monitoring shorebirds, encourage public support for protecting the bay, and strengthen the Panama Audubon Society. Through our efforts, we work to minimize negative impacts affecting the Bay of Panama and make the environment safer for birds, wildlife, and people.
Because of the essential stopover habitats that Panama Bay provides for migrating birds, as well as its vulnerability alongside the urban sprawl of nearby Panama City, it is essential that we take action to conserve this bay.
In conjunction with the Panama Audubon Society, Audubon is working to ensure protection of the Bay of Panama by developing new conservation plans. Our plan is to educate the next generation of environmental leaders in Panama by rolling out an environmental-education curriculum in local schools that focuses on shorebirds, biodiversity, ecosystem, and economic benefits associated with conservation. We are also working to build a culture of appreciation for shorebirds, mangroves, and the biodiversity heritage of Panama Bay through bird festivals and information that explains the importance of conserving the bay’s wetlands.
As of April 27, 2012, the Third Chamber of Supreme Court of Panama “provisionally” removed the protected area status of the Bay of Panama wetlands. As a result, IAP, the Panama Audubon Society, and a coalition of local and international environmental groups are pushing for safeguards to be reinstated for this critical habitat. Many migrants, including Whimbrels, Short-Billed Dowitchers, and Willets, travel from Alaska to winter in the bay, or rest and refuel there before heading farther south. Please help us spread the word. http://www.audubonmagazine.org/articles/conservation/fighting-protect-panama-bay
Read our latest update on Panama Bay: http://www.audubon.org/newsroom/press-releases/2013/audubon-victory-panama-bay