April 3, 2005
This morning we all got up at 5 a.m. to go to the fish market. Let me just say that it was worth getting up so early for this adventure........if I would have gone later when it warmed up to the typical 90 degrees F, the smell might have killed me. All kidding aside, it was an interesting experience, and it pleased my team of "fish geeks" too. It was amazing to see the variety of fish sold there everything from grouper to sharks and octopus ("Pulpo"). There were plenty of avian species as well...but they were there to dine, not be dined upon. Pelicans, frigate birds, black vultures and gulls were scavenging around the floors picking up any scraps cut from the fresh fish and the like.........it was as if they hadn't eaten in weeks.
Tomorrow I am presenting a talk about Project Golden Frog at the Parque Metropolitano Natural. This is the sister park to the Cleveland Metroparks, and therefore such a great opportunity to talk about the Metroparks' role in amphibian conservation, and also to drum up more support for projects like Project Golden Frog and for establishing an amphibian conservation center here in Panama. Roxana, the executive director of the Parque Metropolitano Natural, called today and is trying to set up an interview with the National newspaper before my talk tomorrow. Yet another great opportunity to spread the word.
In order to get my bearings before my talk, I headed over to the Parque Metropolitano Natural today for a little tour and to see the new graphics and the new trail sponsored by the Cleveland Metroparks. Jessica a park ranger showed our team around a bit. She emphasized that they were not a "zoo", though the animal collection was headed in that direction much to the dismay of the park. People dump former "pets" there when they get tired of them, no longer want to spend the money to care for them, or when they are sick .everything from a blind ocelot to monitors that have out grown their owners' homes. The park also does rehabilitation for the animals that have been hit by the automobiles that speed down the road that runs through the reserve. Jessica is currently caring for 4 baby sloths whose mothers had been struck by cars. They require around the clock feedings and Jessica is volunteering her time to help them, but that has to be an exhausting job. Jessica has very little resources available to her to take care of all of these animals, but even with the hardship of little money, she does an amazing job. It really makes one realize that we in the States have a lot more resources and really need to step up to the plate and do more to help our natural world and the beings within it.
The trail sponsored by the Cleveland Metroparks looks very nice, and the graphics were nice as well. The staff was very appreciative of the donation.
Tonight we all went to the beach for the 2005 Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Hermit Crab Races!