The official site of Panama's Conservation, Nature and Life -  
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Conservation, Nature and Life (CONAVI)
Conservación, Naturaleza, y Vida (CONAVI)

Image by CONAVI
Apartado Postal 0823-01212
          Panamá 0823

República de Panamá

Phone number:





Executive director:

Lenin Riquelme

Year founded:


Mission statement:

Encourage sustainable development for rural indigenous communities
and restore and preserve the natural habitats of Panama.


Major donors:

Unión Mundial para la Naturaleza (UICN), Holland (IUCN-NL)

Efico Fund

US Fish and Wildlife Service - International Affairs

The Rufford Foundation for Nature Conservation

The Van Tienhoven for Nature Conservation

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Individual contributors and donors:
Contributions, donations, endowments and sponsorships are gladly welcomed! 
Email us at and we will assist in your desires. 
Sponsorships may be arranged for a locale, species or specific area.


  • Conserve representative samples of the natural ecosystems of the Neotropics.
  • Conserve, protect, rescue, rehabilitate, and release wild aquatic or terrestrial plants
    and animals in their habitats.
  • Promote the transfer of environmentally-friendly technology to rural indigenous communities.
  • Foster community participation in the definition and execution of environmentally sustainable projects aimed at fighting poverty and preserving natural resources.
  • Support research to conserve biodiversity and the factors that make this possible.
Description of the area where CONAVI works:

The Azuero Peninsula is an area where many cultural elements of Panama are preserved. More than 90% of the lands have been converted to agriculture and ranching. Forest remnants provide habitat for endemic and critically endangered species such as the Azuero parakeet (Phyrrura picta eisenmanni), the Azuero spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi azuerensis), and the Azuero howler monkey (Alouatta palliata trabeata). Work is carried out here to establish reserves and ecological easements on private lands, protect sea turtles, and develop ecotourism.


On the collective lands of the Emberá of eastern Panama, we work on legal recognition, land demarcation, and ecotourism. The construction of the Ascanio Villalaz dam forced the Emberá to abandon their traditional territories and resettle on less fertile lands subjected to interventions by loggers and colonizers. The pressure exerted by colonizers seeking land for extensive ranching have led Kuna and Emberá leaders to request the designation of autonomous indigenous territories (comarcas) and controls on colonization. However, the collective lands of Emberá de Ipetí Emberá and Piriatí Emberá still do not have legal status. The Emberá population lives on the banks of the Majé, Ipetí, and Piriatí rivers with inadequate infrastructure and few basic services such as potable water, a situation that is paradoxical since they live so close to the dam for which they were sacrificed in the name of development. They depend economically on timber extraction, fishing, and the sale of handicrafts made from tagua or vegetable ivory nuts (Phytelephas macrocarpa) and rosewood (Dalbergia retusa) carvings.


In Bocas del Toro, research is conducted on the biology and habitat of the Antillean manatee (Trichechus manatus manatus). Overflights have been conducted for two years to count the approximate number of manatees in their known habitat (San San Pond Sak and Laguna Juglí-Damani), and to look for new populations in potential habitat areas. This research was recently extended to the Panama Canal where a population was relocated to in the 1960s, and we hope to begin a program to attach tags for monitoring.


In the Gnöbe Buglé indigenous territory, agroforestry systems based on organic coffee and cacao production were established. The populations of this territory have higher levels of poverty and malnutrition in Panama.  CONAVI works with two indigenous cooperatives (Asociación de Caficultores de Café Orgánico Ngöbe and the Cooperativa de Servicios Múltiples de Cacao Bocaoreña R.L.) to rehabilitate cacao and coffee production systems, improve classification and processing methods, and facilitate trade contacts for moving their organic products to European markets.

  1. Sea Turtle Management and Dry Forest Conservation
    on Panama's Pacific Coast

    Summary:  SCONAVI preserved dry tropical forest in the region of Azuero, Panama, home to endangered species and the site of 16 beaches for nesting sea turtles, by training local communities.

Principal accomplishments:
  • Established a research and conservation program for the Antillean manatee in Panama.

  • Acquired lands for the conservation of tropical dry forest and sea turtle nesting beaches in Tonosí, Panama.

  • Obtained legal recognition and demarcated the Emberá collective lands in eastern Panama.

  • Acquired and conserved lands on the Azuero Peninsula. Providing training for the establishment of ecotourism businesses in Azuero.


Volunteers can stay in participating communities or at field sites with minimal amenities. CONAVI will provide the training needed before beginning volunteer work.


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