Beyond the city limits of Panama City lies the Summit Nature Park of Panama. It is a zoo, a botanical garden, great for birders and it has hiking trails. The zoo is surrounded by Soberania National Park. With a good pair of binoculars you can see any number of wild birds flying in and around the zoo, including toucans, motmots, puff birds, and trogons. Over 400 species of the 950 species of birds found in Panama have been seen in this national park.
Also, the zoo only exhibits native species. You will not find tigers, pandas, giraffes, and all the other charismatic mega-fauna typically found at North American zoos. You will only see native Panamanian animals such as harpy eagles, jaguars, ocelots, spider monkeys, coatis, and Baird’s tapirs. This type of zoo helps create a pride and awareness of local fauna and instills a strong conservation ethic among nationals.
Thirdly, the zoo emphasizes conservation education activities and invites bus load after bus load of young Panamanians to learn about the natural history of their amazing country and how to conserve it. Over 50,000 bright eyed children visit the zoo every year. I hope one day you can visit this park.
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