The United States of America is home to an impressive 116 species of mammals, including some that were introduced after the arrival of Europeans. Among these species are rodents, cetaceans, and carnivores, with marine mammals such as bottlenose dolphins and manatees inhabiting the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. A water tour of the rivers near Panama City Beach may not reveal all of these species, but it is likely that bottlenose dolphins will be seen. The Isthmus of Panama is a narrow strip of land that is home to a wide variety of habitats and ecosystems, resulting in more than 230 species of mammals living in the area.
Monkeys can be found in the lowland forests, while big cats inhabit the jungle. The recorded knowledge of marine mammals in the Gulf began with commercial hunting in the 1700s and 1800s, and has since become a focus for research and conservation efforts. Chemical pollution is a major concern for marine mammals, with persistent organic pollutants (POPs) accumulating in body tissues through the food web. The Rapaces and Forests Foundation of Panama is working to research, educate, and involve communities in conservation efforts to protect these species. In addition, the Panama Amphibian Rescue project is focused on rescuing and breeding critically endangered amphibians. The deer population in Florida was nearly decimated by a campaign to eliminate tick-borne diseases in the late 1930s.
However, thanks to conservation efforts, there are now more than 20,000 deer living in Florida. Other species that have been reintroduced include the black-tailed hare and red deer. The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute studies bats, which are one of the most common mammal species found near rivers in Panama City. Mixed-species groups of cetaceans can be found in various habitats, both oceanic and coastal. Cosmopolitan orcas are found in all oceans from the tropics to Arctic and Antarctic ice.