Location – Pedasi, Azuero Peninsula, Panama
The Project – Pro Eco Azuero focuses on environmental education, reforestation, habitat restoration and sustainable land use in the Azuero Peninsula which is fast becoming one of Panama’s tourist hot spots. Pro Eco Azuero works at the grassroots level with the local community, organising educational initiatives with schools such as field trips, beach clean ups and tree planting and with landowners and farmers on reforestation projects and the creation of an ecological corridor. In 2017 they were awarded the national environmental prize by the Panamanian Ministry of Environment (MiAmbiente) for their commitment to the environment, with particular recognition going to their Spider Monkey Education Initiative which aims to preserve and restore the habitat of this critically endangered endemic subspecies.
Our support – With the Azuero Peninsula gaining recognition as an international tourist destination thanks to its beautiful coastline, strong cultural heritage and colonial towns such as Pedasi, the LATA Foundation felt compelled to support the Pro Eco Azuero’s ambition to preserve the area’s natural beauty. One of the projects they are involved in is the preservation of the Pablo Arturo Barrios Wildlife Refuge (Refugio del vida silvestre Pablo Arturo Barrios).
Covering 15 hectares close to Pedasi, the wildlife refuge includes the coastal area and ocean in front of the region’s better known protected reserve – Isla Iguana. The Pablo Arturo Barrios reserve contains diverse and vitally important ecosystems – beaches, mangroves, dunes and marshes and although protected by law, it is increasingly threatened by coastal development.
Sadly most tourists who pass through Pedasi relax on one of Pablo Barrios Wildlife Reserve’s beaches without being aware of it. Azuero Earth Project is creating a community committee that works hand in hand with MiAmbiente to educate the local community and tourists about the importance of the reserve and the LATA Foundation will help fund this education campaign which includes maps, informative bulletin boards and youth field trips.
Further information – proecoazuero.org/en/