The Kaminando: Habitat Connectivity Initiative (K-HCI) Program: Panama
Kaminando’s wildlife and conservation biology program provides a valuable opportunity to work in the spectacular Tropical Montane Cloud Forest of Panama. The study area includes Mamoní Valley Preserve (MVP), Comarca Guna Yala (indigenous territory), and Chagres National Park.
Conservation Program
Kaminando offers hands-on, professional internships in one of the world's most exciting and highly diverse areas, the Choco-Darien Moist Forest Ecoregion. If you are a biology student or recent graduate looking to explore and discover your career path, K-HCI and MVP offers a myriad of opportunities in the fields of Ornithology Mammalogy, Herpetology, Entomology, Sustainability, and Geospatial Analysis.
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   By examining species distributions and species richness across varying habitats, projects could:

  • Compare species communities within the preserve (e.g. the buffer/core zones that differ in degrees of wildlife preservation and human activity).
  • Study the impacts of various disturbance levels.
  • Investigate the impact of habitat type on species community composition.
  • Study the effect of altitude on species composition.
  • Document changes in forest cover, species distribution or species habitat use through Geospatial Analysis.

   The tropical montane cloud forest of the MVP has endangered and threatened species of amphibians, mammals, and birds. By using covariates such as temperature, habitat structure and forest type, thresholds for a variety of species could be elucidated.
By participating in our 8-day conservation program:

  • You will primarily aid in the effort to study five species of felines [including the mighty jaguar] using camera traps over 200 km2 in the Mamoni Valley.

  • You can define your own dissertation/thesis project on a topic/taxon of your choice. Potentially determining a range extension or even discovering a new species!
Program Overview
K-HCI expeditions presents students with a hands-on research experience through a 12-day summer module on Tropical Montane Cloud Forest Conservation Research. It takes place in the wilderness of Mamoni Valley Preserve.

Kaminando’s vision is to provide students with a platform to learn through our dynamic research projects focused on biodiversity monitoring, adaptive management and the human-wildlife interface.
The program visions are:

  • Learn valuable wildlife management and conservation principles.
  • Understand the challenges facing wildlife conservation & community based natural resource management.
  • Observe the ecological organization and biodiversity of the valley and surrounding ecosystems.
  • Develop advanced field research techniques and associated skills.
  • Understand the social aspects of conservation science.
   Our mission is to save the cloud forest and to protect endangered and threatened wildlife from extinction. K-HCI wants to create opportunities for students to partake in this mission. Students play an active role in the research through data collection and implementation, and will gain valuable skills and knowledge as developing biologists.

   We have teamed up with Mamoni Valley Preserve, Guna Yala Indigenous Comarca, and Chagres National Park, to provide students access to sustainable research and monitoring projects.

        The 8-day course objectives are:

  • Gain hands-on experience in the tropical cloud forest through our flagship research project, Path of the Jaguar.
  • Expose students to the many aspects of fieldwork, regardless of the taxa of interest.
  • Equip students with an ability to decipher and develop research studies on multiple taxa in the cloud forest.
  • During the course, students will play an active role in their project design, data collection and potential implementation.


        RESEARCH PROJECTS

   At the moment our priority is the study of the jaguar, "el tigre" (as it is known in Panama) and its prey. Our wet season camera trap study will comence in October - December 2017. Collaring two species of cats (jaguar and puma) is on our agenda for 2018.

   Our Biodiversity Monitoring Research includes amphibian taxa. Our featured amphibian, Atelopus limosus, is an endangered species known to have survived the global amphibian pandemic, the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Thus, we encourage student to develop studies on this species and others, to elucidate factors that may allow these unique species to survive the emminet global warming and habitat deterioration.



     COSTS

Student participation fees cover:
orientation, lectures, accommodation, transportation (truck, horses), 3 meals a day while you are at the Mamoni Centro campus, and while participating on the projects research, monitoring activities and training.

Live in open-air MVP cabanias surrounded by the sound of the stream and nocturnal wildlife of the Cloud Forest

All travel related costs to Panama are covered by students.

Every dollar of your $1,000 contribution goes directly to sustain our research and conservation activitites. Cost can be discussed.

Please submit a letter of interest if you would like to join us:

Kimberly Craighead
kaminando.kcraighead@gmail.com
Milton Yacelga
kaminando.myacelga@gmail.com