Coiba National Park and Marine Protected Area
Coiba's Biological Heritage
Coiba Island is a refuge for 147 bird species, including twenty-one endemic species and subspecies. Equally important is the island's role as a refuge for species that have largely disappeared from the rest of Panama, such as the Crested Eagle and the Scarlet Macaw. Scientists have registered a total of 36 species of mammals, a number of which are found nowhere else, such as the Coiba Island Agouti ( Dasyproctae coibae) and the Mantled Howler Monkey (Alouatta palliata coibensis); the latter is considered to be at high risk of extinction. Most of the interior of Coiba Island is still unexplored botanically. Preliminary botanical surveys of Coiba Island suggest that there are around 1,450 species of vascular plants, only half of which have been identified. These studies have already resulted in the discovery of an entirely new genus, endemic to Coiba Island, Desmotes (family: Rutaceae). Nowhere is the richness of the Coiba National Park more splendid than in its marine environment of 2,165 square kilometers, much of which is unexplored. The CNP includes the reef of Bahia Damas, the second largest reef in the eastern Pacific covering an expanse of 160 hectares. Reefs such as Bahia Damas have evolved under harsh and unusual circumstances, and studies of their adaptation to assaults such as EI Nino events will be of great value.
The Islands of Coiba National Park