rate in Panama has been constant since 1947 (ANAM, 1993). Estimates
Rainforest Movement, 2001) suggest the rate has recently increased
(Figure 2). There is a
sustained, focused and unrelenting attack on the rainforests of Panama:
forests are vanishing under the onslaught.
2: Graphed actual and projected data on deforestation in Panama. Note
acceleration in projected deforestation.
According to Panama's Autoridad Nacional del Ambiente, ANAM (1993) all forested areas that are not protected will disappear by 2018 if deforestation continues at its present rate. Figure 3 is a typical scene from our drives across the Isthmus of Panama. The forest and its inhabitants are vanishing.
Figure 3: Deforestation in the former Canal Area of Colon Province. This forest is inhabited by white-throated capuchins, mantled howlers, and rufous-naped tamarins as well as a variety of other fragile fauna and floraNeed for Information
and increased numbers of formerly captive monkeys together have given
that the nonhuman primates of Panama and their habitat are at risk.
the literature, and recent correspondence with members of The
Conservation Union (IUCN) indicate more information is
needed on the
distribution and abundance of nonhuman primates in Panama.
Knowledge of the numbers of primates in Panama’s rapidly dwindling forests is based on patchy, and often very old data. In most cases numbers of primates are simply not known. Instead, amount of forested area is used as a rough guide of the degree to which a given primate species may be threatened. New and better data on the number of nonhuman primates in Panama is necessary to guide evaluation of their conservation status. Conservation status, in turn, guides the degree of protection that may be given to the nonhuman primates within the Republic of Panama.
In order to conserve the still remaining populations of monkeys in Panama, their current and historical locations need to be mapped. This accurate information must, in turn, be provided to international conservation groups, such as the IUCN. The initial steps being taken by Panamanian primatologists, such as Pedro Méndez-Carvajal, need to be encouraged and developed.
Figure 4: Tree Density in the Republic of Panama. The lighter the color the greater the tree density.
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