Back to Central America !
Panama the return! I have the rule not to return to a country already visited but this time I made an exception. Why would you tell me? Because already a month is too short, I usually stay in a country several months see several years 😛 . Moreover this year 2016-2017 is special because I take a year of my life to travel and gain experience abroad. Panama has a well-known tropical ecology center, so it’s a perfect opportunity to return.
19 January 2016: after staying 6 months in France (a record for me!), I leave for 6 months of adventure. It all starts for me in Gamboa, a « city », rather residential area not far from the capital. In Gamboa there is the ARCC (Amphibians Rescue and Conservation Center), a breeding center for endangered species, including Atelopus, which is prone to a deadly skin disease. I stay 2 months in this center. The work is simple, maintenance of the premises, cleaning terrariums, assistance with experiments, breeding insects, feeding frogs, in short there is work !
These two months are cut by a month in northern Panama. I go to Bocas del Toro, an island in the Caribbean, to study the frogs, what a foot! A month of pure madness awaits me !
After 11 hours of bus I am at the end of Panama about twenty kilometers from Costa Rica, the island is very touristy, here we speak no more Spanish but English, even locals!I find on the spot Yusan Yang, doctoral student in the USA who performs her thesis on the behavior of a frog.The goal is to understand how the notion of territory in Oophaga pumilio, indeed every male to its territory, often a tree or a rock, fighting to win its territory is rough, only the strongest wins. On our study area there are two colors of blue and red Oophaga, we want to know if color plays a role in territorial warfare, we also want to understand if females are more attracted to a dominant male of the same color and a non-dominant male of different color. In short, we have a part in situ and a part in laboratory, it is really captivating !
After this month of finished terrain, I make three days of stopover to see a friend on Boquete (still in northern Panama). Head for Volcán Barù, the highest point in Panama. The access road is not exceptional from a naturalistic point of view but the point of view is worth the detour (vidéo drone HERE). The next day en route to « el sendero del Quetzal » despite several hours on the spot, the bird did not want to show up (next time!). The third and last day, I take the opportunity to visit the city and its surroundings, a very nice place.
No time to say ef, here I am back on Gamboa, after 5 days on the spot I have the opportunity to carry out a first prospection in Eastern Panama to reintroduce Atelopus limosus. A species « in danger » according to the IUCN, unfortunately victim of an incurable cutaneous fungus. This is a first, this program is very promising and I hope it will work. I am unfortunately stopped from the first night. I am inadvertently bitten by the famous « echis » otherwise known as terciopelo, grage or even spear (Bothrops asper) by chance the envenimation is not serious, I would still still 14 days without being able to walk!
This is the end of my stay, however I’m ready for Ecuador, I had to shift my flight for a week, but I am ready and excited about working with a contact from Guyana on Oophaga sylvatica! ! The following in a few months 😉 …