Discover an Untouched Cloud Forest
At 1439m (nearly 5,00ft) in elevation, Cerro Chucantí is the tallest peak within Panamá’s isolated Majé mountain range and lies within a key biological transition zone on the edge of the Darién Province in eastern Panamá. At such high elevations, the stereotypical tropical heat of Panamá is replaced by cooler temperatures and the common wet tropical forest found near Chucantí’s base is replaced by a much rarer cloud forest habitat – the only one within about 100km.
This geographic isolation has allowed the flora and fauna of Cerro Chucantí to differentiate considerably, such that it contains several locally endemic species and subspecies found nowhere else on Earth. The forests of Cerro Chucantí additionally harbor populations of many Critically Endangered species, such as the Black-headed Spider Monkey (Ateles fusciceps rufiventris), as well as Vulnerable species, such as the Great Curassow (Crax rubra), 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 specialties like 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 around Cerro Chucantí are under severe threat from deforestation for logging and the creation of cattle pastures. Most people living in the area make money by first selling logging rights to a property; once any useful timber trees have been removed the remaining forest is then burnt to the ground and replaced with cattle pastures. These pastures, although still green, feel like deserts compared to the wonderfully diverse old-growth forests still found near Cerro Chucantí’s peak and threaten the security of both the resident species and the mountain’s watershed – which the surrounding residents depend upon for clean water.
Location: Darién Province, PA
Preserve Size: 1,500 acres
Threats: Deforestation for logging and agriculture
Why It’s Special: Cerro Chucantí contains several new species – many of which occur nowhere else in the world – as well as many other threatened and rare species
Explore the Reserve
Learn more about the Cerro Chucantí private reserve, including interactive maps!
Research at Chucantí
The Cerro Chucantí Private Nature Reserve is a unique area for research, with multiple ecosystems and over 10 new species discovered since 2008.
How Cerro Chucantí Created ADOPTA
Our founder, Guido Berguido, first visited Cerro Chucantí in 2004 in the hopes of encotunering a few “lifers” – bird species he had not seen before. Near Cerro Chucantí’s peak, Guido got more than he expected: he saw a Beautiful Treerunner (Margarornis bellulus) and several Varied Solitaires (Myadestes coloratus), which were previously only known to occur nearly 100km farther east in the highlands near Panamá’s border with Columbia.
These early observations started a chain of events which eventually led to Guido purchasing land at Cerro Chucantí and creating ADOPTA to protect the newly established Cerro Chucantí Private Nature Reserve. It is not an understatement to say that Chucantí is the reason for ADOPTA’s existence and continues to be our primary conservation focus.