Panama

After a year of strict Covid-19 lockdowns which brought a severe economic standstill, Panama is awaiting the return of visitors and the restart of the tourism industry.

For Panama's Fall Whale-Watching Season, Scientists Offer Tips for Safeguarding These Magnificent Creatures of the Deep

For humpback whales, bottlenose dolphins and coastal manatees, tourism is a mixed bag, making vigilance ever more important

Hillary Hughes, Panamanian actress, visits the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute's Agua Salud Project during the filming of videos in Spanish and English to share hope for the success of tropical forest reforestation informed by the largest experiment of its kind in the tropics.

Smithsonian Voices

Watch These Two Videos and You Will Feel More Hopeful About the Future of Tropical Forests

Agua Salud's new bilingual videos share the results of tropical reforestation experiments at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama

Illustration from the graphic novel 'Martina and the Bridge of Time' by Aaron O'Dea and Ian Cooke Tapia.

Smithsonian Voices

Time Travel Into Panama's Deep History With This Richly Illustrated New Graphic Novel

'Martina and the Bridge of Time' tells the story of the Isthmus' formation and evolution through the adventures of a young Panamanian girl

Panamanian golden frogs—such as F1, seen here—are native to the rainforests and cloud forests of Panama but haven't been seen in the wild since 2009. Each creature's bright coloration warns predators of its deadly skin, which contains enough toxins to kill 1,200 mice.

A Small Band of Panamanian Golden Frogs Is Saving Their Species From Oblivion

Victims of a deadly fungus, the amphibians are now being selectively bred through a program at the Smithsonian's National Zoo

Foster mother, BD, feeds her adopted vampire bat pup in a captive bat colony at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Gamboa, Panama.

Smithsonian Voices

Baby Vampire Bat Adopted by Mom's Best Friend

The strong relationship formed between two female adult vampire bats may have motivated one of the bats to adopt the other’s baby

Vampire bats, a highly social species, will continue interacting with each other even when they're feeling sick.

When Illness Strikes, Vampire Bat Moms Will Still Socialize With Their Kids

Studying how bats behave when they’re feeling ill could help researchers better understand how pathogens move through close-knit populations

Bees from the nest structures: A) Head, side, top and bottom views of bees found inside the cells, B) drawing of Eufriesea surinamensis and photograph of the head of a modern bee taken by David Roubik

Cool Finds

150-Year-Old Mummified Bee Nests Found in Panama City Cathedral

The nests, covered in gold leaf and paint, act as a time capsule for the surrounding environment circa 1870

The bony growths found in pre-Hispanic skulls in Panama suggest communities were diving for oysters and pearls thousands of years ago.

Skulls With 'Surfer's Ear' Suggest Ancient Pearl Divers in Panama

Thought to occur mainly in cold-water environments, a new study shows "surfer's ear" bone spurs can grow even in the tropics

New Research

A City Frog's Love Song Attracts More Mates Than Countryside Croaks

Fewer predators and heightened competition for mates allowed urban tungara frogs to add more notes and frills to their calls, with big results Read more: h

Mosquito researcher Kelly Bennett, turkey baster in hand, is on the prowl, collecting specimens for study

Hunting Deadly Mosquitoes in Panama

The latest podcast “Sidedoor” travels with Smithsonian experts on the trail of the buzzing beasts known as the Aedes

Panama Canal construction in 1913 showing workers drilling holes for dynamite in bedrock, as they cut through the mountains of the Isthmus. Steam shovels in the background move the rubble to railroad cars.

How the Panama Canal Took a Huge Toll On the Contract Workers Who Built It

The project was a tremendous American achievement, but the health costs to the mostly Caribbean contract workers were staggering

"Panama's Animal Highway" premiers on the Smithsonian Channel, December 13 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

New Documentary Delights With Spectacular Visuals of the Panama Isthmus, A Migratory Superhighway

Scientists from all over the world come to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Center to study this unique region

A green bluebottle fly, part of the Calliphoridae family of carrion flies.

How Fly Guts Are Helping Researchers Catalog the Rainforest

These tiny, buzzing lab assistants provide scientists with a treasure trove of conservation data

USS Ranger traverses the Panama Canal during World War II

Trending Today

Documents Show Chile Foiled Nazi Plot to Attack Panama Canal

Files released by Chile's Investigations Police show a special unit busted two Nazi spy rings in South America

Mateo-Vega (derecha) muestra a los compañeros Emberá y Kuna cómo tomar medidas forestales. De izquierda a derecha, los técnicos indígenas Edgar Gariboldo, Chich Chamarro, Baurdino López, Evelio Jiménez, Alexis Solís. (Sean Mattson / Smithsonian)

Future of Conservation

Cómo Los Científicos y Grupos Indígenas Pueden Aliarse Para Proteger Los Bosques y el Clima

Manuel Noriega is escorted onto a U.S. Air Force aircraft by agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in 1990.

Former Panamanian Dictator Manuel Noriega Dies at 83

He had been serving a 20-year prison sentence for corruption and murder

Mateo-Vega (right) shows Emberá and Kuna colleagues how to take forest measurements. From left to right, indigenous technicians Edgar Garibaldo, Chicho Chamorro, Baurdino Lopez, Evelio Jiménez, Alexis Solís.

Future of Conservation

How Scientists And Indigenous Groups Can Team Up to Protect Forests and Climate

A collaboration between Smithsonian researchers and the Emberá people of Panama aims to rewrite a fraught narrative

Two canal workers pose in the cut

Cool Finds

Commemorate the Panama Canal's Expansion With These Photos From Its Construction

The Panama Canal is opening a third lane to accommodate new mega cargo ships, a feat almost—but not quite—as impressive as building the original

The Panamanian golden frog has become the flagship species for amphibian conservation around the world.

The Race to Protect Frogs from a Deadly Pathogen Gets a Much-Needed Boost

A new amphibian lab in Panama will help researchers to return charismatic golden frogs to the wild

The Biomuseo brightens the night sky

Frank Gehry’s Biomuseo in Panama, Finally Open for Business

The eye-popping structure devoted to the nation’s vibrant ecosystems makes its grand debut

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