Cerro Chucantí Conservation Project

About Cerro Chucanti

Discover an Untouched Cloud Forest

Cerro Chucantí is an isolated massif on the edge of the Darien Province in eastern Panama, which lies in a key biological transition zone between two global Biodiversity Hotspots as defined by Conservation International: the Mesoamerican Hotspot and the Tumbes-Choco-Magdalena Hotspot. It rises to a peak of 1439m (nearly 5,00ft), and sustains a rare cloudforest ecosystem in the cooler area near its peak.

The geographic isolation of the Cerro Chucantí mountaintop has allowed its fauna and flora to differentiate considerably, such that it contains several locally endemic species and subspecies found nowhere else on Earth. The forests of Cerro Chucantí also continue to harbor populations of wildlife of great Conservation concern, like the Critically Endangered Black-headed Spider Monkey (Ateles fusciceps rufiventris), the Endangered Baird´s Tapir (Tapirus bairdii), and Vulnerable species such as the Great Curassow (Crax rubra), and Puma (Puma concolor), whose populations are extremely vulnerable to habitat loss, fragmentation, and overhunting.

Cerro Chucantí has been designated an Important Bird Area by the Panama Audubon Society and is rated as a High-Priority Endemic Bird Area of the World (EBA 024: Darien Highlands) by Birdlife International with such specialties as the endemic Beautiful Treerunner (Margarornis bellulus), an endemic race of Russet-crowned Quail-Dove (Geotrygon goldmani oreas), and an undescribed race of the Varied Solitaire (Myadestes coloratus spp.).

Unfortunately, the forests of Cerro Chucantí are under severe threat from non-traditional deforestation for logging and the creation of cattle pastures. As you read this, hundreds of trees are being cut and ignored to reach the century-old trees with more useful wood; soon the forest will be burnt to the ground and replaced with grassland to feed cattle, like many other areas nearby. These pastures, although beautiful, feel like deserts compared to the wonderful old-growth tropical forest still found near Cerro Chucantí’s peak and threaten the security of the mountain’s watershed, upon which the surrounding residents depend.

Quick Facts

Location: Darien Province
Acres Protected: 1500

Habitat: Tropical Wet Forest, Tropical Cloud Forest near the peak
 
Species of Note:

Columbian Black Spider Monkey

Beautiful Treerunner

Black-faced Solitaire

Multiple New Species

New Species
Many species of plants and animals completely new to science have been discovered at Cerro Chucanti over the past 10 years. Explore what we know about them so far!