Panama Creates Wildlife Refuge to Protect Sea Turtles and More

1,349Views 0Comments Posted 30/06/2024

Panama issued Ministerial Resolution No. 0123 of June 28, 2024, which declares the creation of the new Saboga Wildlife Refuge, with the objective of protecting the critical habitat of sea turtles. 


The new refuge will protect the nesting habitat of 41 bird species, including the iconic blue-footed booby, and the migration routes of many species of elasmobranchs, including whale sharks and mobula rays, and cetaceans such as humpback and Bryde's whales in an area of ​​almost 83.01 km2, which includes 10 islands and islets in the Las Perlas archipelago, the Ministry of Environment (MiAmbiente) said. 


Through a public consultation, the local community of Saboga was surveyed twice by The Leatherback Project and once by MiAmbiente, regarding possible protection ideas for Saboga and the surrounding islands.  On both occasions, residents supported the creation of a new wildlife refuge in this area.  Marino Abrego, biologist and head of the Department of Coastal and Marine Resources Management at MiAmbiente, said the creation of the protected area is an effort between the community, non-governmental organizations and state institutions that, as visionaries, focus on the potential of this site that houses emblematic and endangered species. 


Meanwhile, Callie Veelenturf, National Geographic explorer and director of The Leatherback Project, maintains that the creation of the Saboga Wildlife Refuge is the first proactive nationwide implementation of Law 287, which recognizes the Rights of Nature in Panama.  “This action is very important, as it shows the world an example of what respect for the intrinsic rights of nature looks like in practice: generating new protected areas to safeguard the healthy functioning of ecosystems and exemplify life in harmony with nature".

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