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Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project

  • Front of the the PARC building in Panama

The Panama Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project seeks to rescue and establish assurance colonies of amphibian species that are in extreme danger of extinction throughout Panama. The Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s Center for Species Survival focuses efforts and expertise on developing methodologies to reduce the impact of the amphibian chytrid fungus (called Bd) so that one day, captive amphibians may be reintroduced to the wild.

The project is a partnership between the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the Houston Zoo, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and Zoo New England. The rescue project currently has two facilities in Panama: the Gamboa Amphibian Research and Conservation Center at STRI, and the El Valle Amphibian Conservation Center at the Nispero Zoo. Combined, these facilities have full-time staff caring for a collection of 12 endangered species in about 8,000 square feet of ex-situ facilities.

The rescue project’s new laboratory for conducting research on the captive collection welcomes new project partners or research collaborations that use our living collection, prioritizing research that may allow us to conduct successful reintroductions of amphibians into Bd-positive habitats. Please visit the Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project website.

Current Partners

Steering Committee

  • Bob Chastain, President and CEO Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
  • Lee Ehmke, President and CEO Houston Zoo
  • Steve Monfort, Director Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
  • Matthew Larsen, Director Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
  • John Linehan, President and CEO Zoo New England

Implementation Team

  • Eric Baitchman (Zoo New England)
  • Della Garelle (Cheyenne Mountain Zoo)
  • Jorge Guerrel (STRI)
  • Brian Gratwicke (SCBI)
  • Matthew Evans (Smithonian's National Zoo)
  • Roberto Ibanez (STRI)
  • Heidi Ross (STRI)
  • Peter Riger (Houston)
  • Brad Wilson (Atlanta Botanical Gardens)


Kevin Barrett, Matt Becker, Lisa Belden, Andrew Crawford, Gina Della Togna, Reid Harris, Cesar Jaramillo,  Warren Johnson, Marc Mandica, Vicky Poole, Cori Richards, Jamie Voyles.


In addition to institutional partners listed above, this work is generously supported by Anele Kolohe Foundation, Canadian Embassy in Panama, Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, Friends of the National Zoo, Minera Panama, National Science Foundation, Shared Earth Foundation, USAID, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Waltham Foundation & Wood Tiger Foundation.