Panama City, Florida is a paradise for nature lovers, boasting a wide variety of flora and fauna. From the long-leaved pine trees of Econfina Creek to the black peacock and bare-necked umbrella bird of the Talamanca highlands, there is something for everyone. The Office of Fish and Wildlife Conservation in Panama City works to restore and improve habitats for species such as the salamander from frozen flat forests, the reticulated salamander from flat forests, and the gophone frog. In addition, the region of Darién is home to species with restricted distribution that are only shared with Colombia, such as the black oriole and the dark-backed jacamar.
Humpback whales migrate annually through Panama and the females give birth to their young in the warm Panamanian waters. The vegetation along the banks of rivers in Panama City is quite diverse. Metallic grass helps spread fire more efficiently, an important component of the long-leaf ecosystem, since prescribed fires must now mimic the natural fires that once devastated the highlands every one to three years. These fires help control invasive hardwoods and also promote a lush underforest that is necessary for the survival of several protected animal species. Thousands of clumps of native wire grass, a tall cluster that looks like packing wire, have also been planted.
Hardwood hammocks come in a variety of compositions due to differences in soil types and moisture levels, geographical regions and other factors. In addition to vegetation, there are many species of mammals that can be found in Panama City. With a little skill, a little luck and a lot of patience, you can find dozens of species of mammals during your stay in Panama. Snakes are by far the largest group of reptiles in Panama, and they are a cause for great concern, as visitors to Panama fear having a close encounter with one of these aerodynamic animals. The Panama Amphibian Rescue 26% conservation project works to rescue and captive breed critically endangered amphibians in Panama to assess the sustainability of their reintroduction into the wild. The Rapaces and Forests Foundation of Panama focuses on research, environmental education and community participation for conservation.
In 1987, a cooperative agreement was established between state and federal conservation agencies to restore a self-sufficient population of striped bass to the greatest extent possible in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River system through various management and conservation strategies. To better understand what the recovering highlands of Econfina will one day be like, take a walk along the Florida Trail, just west of the river. The Florida Office of Ecological Services is headquartered in Gainesville and offices in Panama City, Jacksonville and Vero Beach to better serve those areas of the state.