• Coiba Sunset, Panama by LASZLO ILYES (CC BY 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/laszlo-photo/2071282152/

Coiba National Park and its Special Zone of Marine Protection (Panama)

Coiba National Park and its Special Zone of Marine Protection (Panama)

Tue, 10/25/2016 - 14:54
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Coiba National Park, off the southwest coast of Panama, protects Coiba Island and 38 smaller islands as well as surrounding marine areas within the Gulf of Chiriqui. Coiba’s Pacific tropical moist forest maintains exceptionally high levels of endemism of mammals, birds and plants due to the ongoing evolution of new species.

Coiba National Park, off the southwest coast of Panama, protects Coiba Island, 38 smaller islands and the surrounding marine areas within the Gulf of Chiriqui. Protected from the cold winds and effects of El Niño, Coiba’s Pacific tropical moist forest maintains exceptionally high levels of endemism of mammals, birds and plants due to the ongoing evolution of new species.

The property is an outstanding natural laboratory for scientific research and provides a key ecological link to the Tropical Eastern Pacific for the transit and survival of pelagic fish and marine mammals.


Coiba National Park and its Special Zone of Marine Protection, is located in the Republic of Panama in the Gulf of Chiriqui, in the western sector of the country. The property protects Coiba Island along with 38 smaller islands and the surrounding marine area and is immersed in the Tropical Eastern Pacific, forming part of the Tropical Eastern Pacific Marine Corridor (CMAR).

The forests of Coiba Island possess a high variety of endemic birds, mammals and plants. Coiba Island also serves as the last refuge for a number of threatened species that have largely disappeared from the rest of Panama, such as the Crested Eagle and the Scarlet Macaw. Furthermore the marine ecosystems within the property are repositories of extraordinary biodiversity conditioned to the ability of the Gulf of Chiriquí to buffer against temperature extremes associated to El Niño/Southern Oscilation phenomenon.

The property includes 760 species of marine fishes, 33 species of sharks and 20 species of cetaceans. The islands within the property are the only group of inshore islands in the tropical eastern Pacific that have significant populations of trans-Pacific fishes, namely, Indo-Pacific species that have established themselves in the eastern Pacific.

The size and length of the property allows for the protection of a whole and healthy ecosystem that is one of the last major refuges for rare and endangered species of tropical America. The conservation of the property is the main objective of close cooperation between the several stakeholders that form the Coiba National Park’s Directors Board, the authority responsible for the governance and management of the property.